From a friend who works for the forest service:
“This week my colleagues and I have had to deal with confusing gag orders and onerous requests for information and justifications of our work. In one case, I was given only half an hour to write statements on a number of pending agreements to explain why they were in the “public interest.” Note, these agreements involve *already allocated funds*, that have gone through *numerous justification and vetting processes already*. I have no idea how these justification requests will be used, but signs out of other agencies are ominous.
All of that said, the *single most pressing issue* for us right now is the blanket hiring freeze. We can muddle through with a hiring freeze on permanent staff, but my work and that of many of my colleagues (and much the functioning of the rest of the Federal system) depends on temporary and seasonal workers.
If this part of the ban is not lifted, then I will not be able to complete a number of projects that are critical to learning how we can best restore arid ecosystems in the Western United States. These lands are under threat from increasing fire frequency, invasive species and other disturbances. These lands support and sustain wildlife, pollinators, rare plants, clean air, clean water, Native American tribes, recreationists, sportsmen and ranchers. These lands are part of our heritage as Americans.
If you would like to help Federal scientists and other Federal employees continue to provide the public service that you have *already paid for* as a tax payer, please consider adding *lifting the ban on temporary and seasonal hiring* to your list of things that you are calling your Senators and Representatives about. Thank you.”
Governmental scientists employed at a subset of agencies have been forbidden from presenting their findings to the public. We have drafted the following response for distribution, and encourage other scientists to post it to their websites, when feasible.
Graham Coop, Professor of Evolution and Ecology, UC Davis
Michael B. Eisen, Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, UC Berkeley
Molly Przeworski, Professor of Biological Sciences, Columbia University
In Defense of Science
We are deeply concerned by the Trump administration’s move to gag scientists working at various governmental agencies. The US government employs scientists working on medicine, public health, agriculture, energy, space, clean water and air, weather, the climate and many other important areas. Their job is to produce data to inform decisions by policymakers, businesses and individuals. We are all best served by allowing these scientists to discuss their findings openly and without the intrusion of politics. Any attack on their ability to do so is an attack on our ability to make informed decisions as individuals, as communities and as a nation.
If you are a government scientist who is blocked from discussing their work, we will share it on your behalf, publicly or with the appropriate recipients. You can email us at USScienceFacts@gmail.com.
If you use this address please use PGP encryption using this PGP public key: http://pgp.mit.edu/pks/lookup?op=get&search=0x52C7139DE0A3D350
STEM the Divide is a new initiative by the 314 Action committee (314 are the first three digits of pi, so it’s a committee run by the right kind of nerds). Inspired by committee’s such as Emily’s List, the stated goal of the group is to connect people with science backgrounds to the expertise and funds needed to run a successful campaign.
Intrigued? Read about it over at the Washington Post.
Or consider signing up for 314 Action’s email list, consider running for a state or local office, or donate.