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Science Under Siege at the Department of the Interior (2018)


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Science Under Siege at the Department of the Interior

Press Release

WASHINGTON (December 4, 2018)—Scientific studies canceled. A chilling effect on discussion of climate change.  Thousands of acres of public lands opened to polluting industries. It all happened on Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s watch.

The damage Zinke has inflicted could be long lasting, as Interior’s scientific work has been severely constrained, according to the report “Science Under Siege at the Department of the Interior,” released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). The report, which analyzed nearly two years’ worth of actions by the Department of the Interior (DOI), documents Zinke and other top political appointees sidelining key scientific functions and ignoring the agency’s obligation to protect public lands, endangered species and cultural heritage.

Recommendations for Local Stakeholders, Partners of Public Lands, and the Outdoor Industry

Engage with the DOI. Participate in public comment periods and other DOI rule-making processes, especially ones that affect public lands in your region, state, and community. Encourage your members, customers, and other constituencies to do the same.

Monitor changes on the ground and report back when you see them. As regular users of public lands, local partners and stakeholders are uniquely positioned to see any changes occurring on the ground as a result of DOI actions. Share what you see with your community, other local stakeholders, and the media.

Share the findings of this report. Many people are not familiar with the DOI, its political leadership, or how the department’s actions—especially those that sideline science and scientists—are affecting public lands and health. Let them know about the DOI’s record over the past two years. Everyone affected by the DOI’s activities can push back on Secretary Zinke’s abuses of science, wildlife and nature, and people. We must demand responsible stewardship.

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.


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