Some leading university researchers "are being purged" from key EPA advisory panels under a rule announced by Administrator Scott Pruitt that bars membership by scientists at the same time they receive EPA grant money, says Science magazine. "It marks a major change in who can serve on the committees, which help steer EPA research and regulations by providing input on scientific questions."
The senior Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, said in a letter to supporters that she opposes the nomination of Sam Clovis to be the USDA's chief scientist, "and I call on President Trump to withdraw it immediately," reported Hill Heat, which covers global warming. Stabenow is the first member of the agriculture committee to formally oppose Clovis, a co-chair of Trump's presidential campaign and his chief political liaison at the USDA.
A series of emails obtained under a state freedom of information law suggest major food companies have a "roadmap for dealing with scientific challenges," says the leader of the nonprofit group U.S. Right to Know in a Bloomberg story. The emails by current and former Coca-Cola executives suggest actions such as enlisting outside organizations to question dietary advice that was contrary to their business interests.
After 44 years as president of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Michael Jacobson is stepping down. During his long tenure, Jacobson not only helped develop nutrition labels, he “has also had a hand in halting the marketing of many sugar-filled foods to children, reducing salt levels in packaged foods, and banning transfats,” says NPR.
President Trump should withdraw the nomination of “wildly unqualified” Sam Clovis for USDA chief scientist “as a gesture to the American people that this administration is serious about rooting out the most hateful voices in our society,” said Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer in a joint statement with Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii.
If there was any question of backing for Sam Clovis, nominated to be USDA chief scientist, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, "I fully support the nomination" and "the president has confidence in his abilities." Perdue brushed aside questions whether Clovis, a college professor, has the credentials for the job.
Sam Clovis, co-chair of Donald Trump's presidential campaign and a Tea Party activist from Iowa, is the president's choice to run USDA's research and economics agencies, said the White House, in a selection criticized for weeks before it was announced. Trump tabbed Indiana state agriculture director Ted McKinney for the newly created post of agriculture undersecretary for trade.
In a move meant to stem government regulation, the EPA is cutting academic scientists from its scientific review board and replacing them with industry representatives, while the Interior Department prepares for a review of the scientists on its own advisory council.
The March for Science, set for Saturday in Washington, may command attention for one reason: "It’s pretty rare for people in any occupation to march on their field’s behalf," says FiveThirtyEight in an examination of public protest. "When scientists travel from across the country to ask their government for respect and funding, the group they will most closely be emulating is farmers."
The Trump administration’s proposed budget would cancel four NASA climate science missions, which would have measured the flow of carbon dioxide and tracked long-term weather patterns. “Long before President Trump was elected, climate researchers have warned that the nation’s climate monitoring capabilities — which include satellites as well as air- and surface-based instruments — were less than adequate and faced data collection gaps and other uncertainties,” reports The New York Times.