Trump Interior Dept. Official Releases False Climate Info

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One official in the Interior Department Indur Goklany who was promoted to the office of the Deputy Secretary, led the movement to insert misleading language in a minimum of nine reports about climate change. These included environmental studies and impact statements on major watersheds in the American West.

‘The Interior Department’s scientific work is the basis for critical decisions about water and mineral rights affecting millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of acres of land.’

The principal research scientist at Harvard University’s Center for the Environment Samuel Myers said, according to The New York Times:

‘[It] takes very specific and isolated pieces of science, and tries to expand it in an extraordinarily misleading fashion.’

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The U.S. Interior Department referred all of the questions to the Bureau of Reclamation. That is the office that controls the nation’s dams and water resources. It was the first to publish the language of:

‘Uncertainty is a part of climate modeling, as it is with all scientific modeling,” said Marlon Duke, the bureau’s acting public affairs chief. He said the bureau did not have a formal requirement to include specific language in any document, “but we strive to be fully transparent in recognizing and sharing appropriate uncertainties in the information we use to make decisions.’

Associate Professor of Paleoecology and Plant Ecology at the University of Maine Jacquelyn Gill said:

‘Highlighting uncertainty is consistent with the biggest attacks on the climate science community. They’re emphasizing discussions of uncertainty to the point where people feel as though we can’t actually make decisions” based on the research.’

Four former and current Interior Department officials noted that Goklany’s dramatic rise was immediate and completely “unexpected.” A former leading climate policy expert at the Interior Department, Joel Clement quit in 2017 and testified that the former Interior Secretary Ryan Zinka was on a scientist-purge. Now, Clement is a fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. People were asking:

‘They were like, “Who the hell is this guy?”‘

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Zinke denied all of the allegations. Deputy Secretary Goklany ordered “uncertainty language that the trail of emails say would be included in future studies of river basins:” The misleading references work to the advantages of greater levels of carbon dioxide, thus questioning widely-accepted scientific research. Still, Goklany wrote:

“[T]hat CO2 may have increased the water use efficiency of plants globally.’

In early 2018, the trail of emails indicated that the bureau had already adopted a requirement about climate uncertainty. Watershed Management Official Avra Morgan wrote about David Ruff wanting to be included. Watershed Management Official Avra Morgan wrote an email last month to over a dozen bureau scientists:

‘[The] “uncertainty” language that Dave Raff and others wanted included in the Department, to be included in all Basin Studies from here forward.’

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Farmers have opposed this action, pointing toward their irrigation needs. In Northern California, the federal government will have to decide whether to:

‘[R[emove four hydroelectric dams blocking about 400 miles of habitat for “migratory salmon and steelhead trouts.’

Attorney for the environmental group Earthjustice Kristen Boyles said:

‘They’ll be able to say, “We’re not going to consider climate change.”‘

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