USDA inspector general launches climate change investigation


Former Staff
Jul 2014
An internal government watchdog is starting an investigation into the USDA’s handling of climate science and communication after a series of POLITICO reports found that the department has been routinely burying its work on climate change, even as farmers and ranchers are increasingly dealing with its harmful effects. The USDA’s Office of the Inspector General told lawmakers on Monday that it has already begun a formal inquiry into these concerns.

More than a dozen top Senate Democrats — including Senate Agriculture ranking member Debbie Stabenow (Mich.), Mazie Hirono (Hawaii), Patrick Leahy (Vt.), and Rep. Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) – formally asked IG to investigate in June, citing a POLITICO investigation that showed the USDA was broadly failing to disseminate its own climate science findings.

Lawmakers had asked the IG to look into "potential instances of suppression and alteration of scientific reports, documents, or communications" produced by USDA.

POLITICO revealed one case in which USDA officials had tried to dissuade research partners at a university from disseminating their findings about how rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere led to a drop in key nutrients in rice, the world’s most important crop. A leading USDA crop scientist ultimately resigned from the department over the incident.

About time. This administration's "denial" about Climate Change is way out of line and could have the potential to have a devasting effect on our land, water, and air.