Mazie Hirono Sounds the Alarm on Trump Appointees Interfering with Government Scientists
Scientists working in the federal government are concerned that political appointees have inappropriate influence over their work, according to a recent study published by Union of Concerned Scientists. Respondents included scientists from the National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) is now calling for an investigation into the possible interference. On Friday, she led 14 of her Senate colleagues in a letter to Department of the Interior (DOI) Inspector General Mary Kendall urging her to monitor any political interference in scientific research or communications at the Department. The Senators also note in the letter previous activities by DOI leadership that illustrate their animosity towards science, including the implementation of an unprecedented grant review by a political appointee late last year as well as requests for steep budget cuts to science-based programs. “In April of this year news surfaced alleging political interference with a report by the National Park Service on sea level rise. In response to that news, a number of us wrote a letter requesting that you open an investigation into the matter,” the Senators wrote. “Actions by this administration have clearly illustrate disrespect for the important contribution science makes to the decision making process,” the lawmakers wrote. “We have no reason to believe that attacks on science and pressure by political appointees to later science to fit the administration's narrative will cease.” They ask Kendall to remain diligent on the issue and go on to outline specific behaviors and incidents that should warrant an investigation. Among the 14 signatories were Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), and Kamala Harris (D-CA). See the letter here.