Letter: Real leaders aren't afraid to hear contrary facts

To the editor:

EPA employees say the Trump administration is stifling science. Four-hundred EPA employees say they witnessed violations of EPA policy on scientific integrity and did not report it, citing fear of retaliation, their belief reporting wouldn’t result in action or would be hidden by senior officials. A total of 175 employees reported outright suppression, changing or delay in reporting scientific research and information.

The Inspector General conducted the confidential survey in response to employee complaints. Employees stated that leadership ignored science reporting and recommendations, failed to integrate science information into policy, and in regard to climate science suppressed, manipulated or excluded important climate findings.

In response, the EPA did not address the employee concerns but said the Deputy Administrator would create an action plan by September on how to adjudicate these kinds of complaints.

The Inspector General’s report echoes previously reported instances of employee retaliation and suppression of scientific findings considered important for Americans, including one last year by employees at the Interior Department.


It’s worth pointing out that the current EPA head is a former coal company lobbyist who tried to get Obama-era coal regulations lifted. Coal burning utilities are among the worst producers of greenhouse gases which pollute the environment and warm the Earth.

Governments that ignore important information are bound to make more mistakes than those that consider all the facts. Contrary to what anti-science advocates claim, scientific facts do not dictate policy. Science is a method to observe and analyze what is actually happening in the physical world and report that clearly and without bias. Really smart leaders use every tool they’ve got. They’re not afraid to hear contrary facts and opinions. We need leaders who honor the truth and live by it. That’s the least we should expect.

Jeanne Johnson

Citizens Climate Education Network

Citizens Climate Lobby

Alexandria, MN

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