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Letter to Secretary of Interior Regarding Continued Censoring of Federal Climate Scientists

Mar 9, 2007

Committee letterhead

March, 9, 2007

Mr. Dick Kempthorne
Secretary of the Interior
U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20240

Dear Secretary Kempthorne

Yesterday, I was surprised to learn that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) was attempting to muzzle one of its scientists from participating in a full discussion of conserving Arctic animals and plants at an international conference to be held in Norway. In February 26 and 27 memoranda entitled "Foreign Travel Clarification" to FWS Director H. Dale Hall from the Region 7 acting director, Mr. Hall was advised that Dr. Janet E. Hohn, an expert in Arctic conservation, understood "the administration's position on climate change, polar bears and sea ice and will not be speaking on or responding to these issues."

Dr. Hohn is scheduled to attend the Arctic Council's Senior Arctic Officials meeting. The Council is an intergovernmental organization to address the common concerns of the countries and peoples of the Arctic regions. It describes environmental monitoring and assessment as a key element of its agenda and has been able to attract global attention to the state of the Arctic environment. She is also meeting with the Norwegian representative of the Conservation of Arctic Flora and Fauna Working Group, but will not be allowed to speak or respond to any conversation about climate change, polar bears and sea ice in that meeting.

This “clarification” appears to be the latest effort by the Bush Administration to block a full and free discussion of issues relating to climate change by the scientific community, despite the President’s recent acknowledgement that global warming was an issue that needed to be addressed. The memos from Region 7 acting director were apparently in response to an Administration-wide directive on foreign travel that forces scientists and other experts to censor their discussions about climate change, polar bears and sea ice at international conferences.

Read the complete letter.

110th Congress