Climate Scientist Blows the Whistle after Trump Administration Tries to Silence Him
July 23, 2017 Walter Einenkel / The Daily Kos
Joel Clement used to be the director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the US Interior Department. Last week, Mr. Clement lost his job and Wednesday he became a whistleblower on the Trump administration and their practice of trying to silence facts and reality. In an op-ed written over at the Washington Post, Clement explains how things have changed since Trump and his fossil-fueled cabinet appointments took over.
Climate Scientist Blows the Whistle after Trump Administration Tries to Silence Him Walter Einenkel / The Daily Kos
Thursday Jul 20, 2017) -- Joel Clement used to be the director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the US Interior Department. Last week, Mr. Clement lost his job and Wednesday he became a whistleblower on the Trump administration and their practice of trying to silence facts and reality. In an op-ed written over at the Washington Post, Clement explains how things have changed since Trump and his fossil-fueled cabinet appointments took over.
I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.
Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I've helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments.
Citing a need to "improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration," the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.
Clement goes on to explain that he believes he was demoted because he spoke out publicly about climate change and more specifically he voiced concerns about its affects on Native American communities in Alaska. Moving someone from their position of expertise into a field they have nothing to do with is a classic scumbag employer thing to do when you want to edge someone into an early retirement.
At least, that's how Clement feels and he has filed complaints to the US Office of Special Counsel saying as much. Trump's Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has gotten to work fast at destroying the department his is now heading.
Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told lawmakers last month that he aims to reduce the workforce of his agency by 4,000 employees to achieve a "balanced budget." And to achieve those cuts, he said the agency would rely on buyouts, attrition and reassignments.
At an earlier event, Zinke told reporters the agency was about to enter "probably the greatest reorganization in the history of the Department of the Interior."
And Clement makes it clear that this "reorganization" isn't about streamlining anything. Turning a climate scientist into an accountant isn't efficient -- it's either incompetent or nefarious. And while we may have a president who is as dumb as gold-plated toilet seat, the people he's trying to silence are not made out of hot air.
On Thursday, the Union of Concerned Scientists issued a detailed report running through a long list of actions the advocacy group says shows the pattern at work.
The selection of top officials who dispute the mainstream consensus on the urgency of climate action, the reassignments of career officials and outside advisors, the proposed budget cuts to dismantle climate and other science-related offices while others are left empty, the revisions to published Web pages on the subject, and the attempts to roll back Obama era regulations and policies are all part of a common agenda.
"This is a new era in which political interference in science is more likely and more frequent and will present serious risks to the health and safety of the American people," the report's authors wrote.
"Right out of the gate, we saw actions being taken," said Gretchen Goldman, one of the report's authors. "By our count, there's something we would consider an attack on science every four days in this administration. Even I was surprised at just much we have found."
And Mr. Clement makes it clear that while he was a civil servant first and could work with a Republican or Democratic administration -- this administration is something else entirely.
Let's be honest: The Trump administration didn't think my years of science and policy experience were better suited to accounts receivable. It sidelined me in the hope that I would be quiet or quit. Born and raised in Maine, I was taught to work hard and speak truth to power.
Trump and Zinke might kick me out of my office, but they can't keep me from speaking out. They might refuse to respond to the reality of climate change, but their abuse of power cannot go unanswered.
As Clement himself says, regardless of what happens to him in all of this, his original concerns still stand -- climate change is affecting human beings as we speak, in Alaska, and it there are consequences we have to deal with. You can watch Clements' plea via a video he made with the Post, below.
(July 19, 2017) -- On July 19, the former top climate policy official at the Department of Interior filed a complaint and a whistleblower disclosure form with the Office of Special Counsel. The official, Joel Clement, says the Trump administration is threatening public health and safety by trying to silence scientists like him. ACTION ALERT: Trump Could Censor DOE's Dirty Energy Report Public Citizen
The Trump administration could very well censor a new study that does not support its dirty energy agenda.
Don't let that happen. Tell Rick Perry Not to Let Trump Do the Bidding of Big Polluters.
The study's findings -- released last week by US Department of Energy (DOJ) staff -- do not support a bailout of failing fossil fuel and nuclear plants. But the Trump administration expected the study to be the blueprint for its plan to fuel the dirty energy regression.
And the administration is now warning that the final, Trump-approved version of the report could reach a dirty energy-friendly conclusion that encourages handouts to Big Polluters.
ACTION: Tell Energy Secretary Rick Perry to keep dirty energy bailouts out of the DOE plan. Act now.
Public Citizen's Climate and Energy Program
2017 Public Citizen, 1600 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20009 ACTION: Supporting Clean Energy Solutions
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