USGS Scientists Prevented from Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics

On August 14, 2018, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) published the results of a survey of 63,000 scientists employed by the federal government. The survey, which was conducted by UCS and Iowa State University in early 2018, gathered information about scientific integrity at 16 federal agencies. According to USC, the results “demonstrate significant challenges related to the development and use of science” within federal agencies.

The survey results suggest that there has been extensive political interference in scientific research at the Department of the Interior’s U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Notably, 59 percent of USGS scientists surveyed indicated that “resources . . . have been distributed away from work considered politically contentious,” and 22 percent reported being personally “asked or told not to work on . . . politically contentious” topics. No information was provided on specific areas that have been targeted.