In a morning tweet this week, Donald Trump threw in a couple of words about the country’s “estuaries, our rivers, our water – everything better.” Someone must have gotten through to him that the environment was important to suburban women’s and millennial’s voting. The problem is two-fold. He does not believe in climate change. Second, money is more important to Trump than his grandchildren’s lives. He told our world-class climate change scientists to pack up and move to Kansas City in 30 days. Then, this happened.
The White House blocked a State Department intelligence official from giving written testimony to the House Intelligence Committee about the environment. Rod Schoonover resigned in protest after nearly 10 years on the job. At the time of his resignation, he worked at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research Office of the Geographer and Global Issues.
He testified about the U.S. security risks due to climate change before the committee on June 5, 2019. However, when it came to the bureau’s written statement to the committee, he told the White House he refused to omit references to “federal scientific findings on climate change,” because the climate impacts might be “possibly catastrophic.” That was when the White House insisted. Schoonover resigned.
Director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists Andrew Rosenberg said that any federal expert should be able to share their knowledge with Congress regardless of who the president is:
‘This isn’t carrying forward your political opinions. This is bringing the work you’re hired to do in a policy setting.’
Rosenberg noted that although the intelligence official resigned, it was a blow to other government professionals. However, there have been experts intimidated by the White House and other government officials before:
‘That’s just a terrible signal to federal professionals broadly, to people in the State Department who don’t know what they can say in their relations with other countries and the Hill.’
Director for the Center for Energy and Environment at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute Myron Ebell said he thought that this was a political decision by the Trump campaign consultants. These consultants told him:
‘We have polling showing that you need to stress your environmental accomplishments and not start controversial things that will get you bad press, like going after climate science.’
CEO of the Council on Strategic Risks and co-founder of the Center for Climate and Security Francesco Femina was happy to call off the alternative task force the White House considered implementing. She emailed the Washinton Post:
‘The very lowest baseline is that the White House should never politicize science or intelligence analysis, so this isn’t anything to celebrate under normal circumstances.’
‘But it is still good to see this politically-motivated effort fail. The national security, military, intelligence and science communities came out strongly against it, and the result affirms that standing up for the integrity of our democratic system matters, especially since too many of our political leaders won’t.’
Schoonover worked at the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. The Washington Post reported that prior to coming to this bureau:
‘(H)e had served as director of environment and natural resources at the National Intelligence Council and as a full professor of chemistry and biochemistry at California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo.’
The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.