USDA Scientists Put On Lockdown Under Trump

By: Sam Garnett

January 24, 2017

Update January 25th, 2017: The USDA has lifted the gag order, potentially demonstrating the power of public outcry against these actions. We will be keeping our eyes on how this develops

The US Department of Agriculture has banned scientists and research employees from publically sharing materials related to research. Buzzfeed News obtained an email sent to staff at the main research arm, Agriculture Research Service that told them they were barred from public communication regarding research. An excerpt from the email reads:

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,”

Other science-related government departments have also experienced changes since the new administration entered the White House. National Park Service employees were told to stop tweeting from official accounts, while EPA has had freezes imposed on grants and contracts.

These actions harken back to the muzzling of climate and environmental scientists under the Harper government in Canada and gives insight into the upcoming relationship between the White House and government scientists. SPE strongly opposes this kind of muzzling. Taxpayer funded work should be not be hidden from the public, and this type of research greatly contributes to the development and implementation of policies that can improve the country and protect our natural resources. It is imperative that scientific information is made available to policy makers and the public in a non-biased manner.

Read the full report at Buzzfeed