Skeptics blast Jewell’s comments as ‘scientific cleansing’
Laura Petersen, E&E reporter
[Complete article available from E&E Greenwire – August 1, 2013 – subscription required]
Published: Thursday, August 1, 2013
Some observers are outraged over comments made yesterday by Interior Secretary Sally Jewell when she said she hoped there are “no climate change deniers” at her agency.
Jewell made the statement yesterday during a sweeping town hall address to Interior employees in which she discussed the budget, resources, youth outreach programs, water, tribal relations and other topics. The agency is poised to take substantive action on climate change, she said, adding that doing so is not only a privilege but a moral imperative (E&ENews PM, July 31).
But the comments have drawn outrage from observers who are skeptical that climate change is caused by humans. The blog JunkScience.com posted a story about the comments under the headline “Scientific Cleansing.”
“It’s a way for the Obama administration to silence any internal critics,” said Marc Morano, publisher of the blog Climate Depot and a former Republican staffer on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. “If you are a scientist, engineer or bureaucrat and you don’t buy the party line of a man-made climate crisis, this is a message you better keep your mouth shut or your career is going to be impacted.”
Marlo Lewis, a Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow, expressed similar concerns about the “chilling effect” Jewell’s comments could have on the agency.
“Only a few months on the job and Jewell already behaves like a self-righteous bully,” he wrote in a post on GlobalWarming.org. “A good swift dose of congressional oversight is in order. It might just keep the thought police from harassing climate dissenters at DOI.”
Environmental groups, however, welcomed the statement.
“It’s great to have a secretary of Interior who recognizes the challenges ahead of us and wants to have an agency using the best science available and making progress in solving these problems,” said Josh Saks, legislative director at the National Wildlife Federation.
And Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonpartisan alliance that represents environmental watchdogs and whistle-blowers within government agencies, said it was unalarmed by Jewell’s statement.
While PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch said that “typically, the private views of employees should be beyond the purview of the secretary,” he did not think she was out to purge the agency of climate change deniers.
“I don’t think it was an attempt to announce the arrival of the thought police,” he said.
But he acknowledged he was surprised by Jewell’s statement and imagined it was an off-the-cuff remark by a former business leader who is not used to carefully parsing words to avoid political backlash.
When asked about the reaction to Jewell’s comments, an Interior spokeswoman today said, “At the end of the day, this is about cutting carbon pollution and taking steady steps to protect our kids’ health so we leave a cleaner, more stable environment for future generations.”
Obama Secretary Of Interior Threatens Employees, Promises To Trash Public Lands — Real Science Rebuttal: ‘No actual science is permitted in the Obama administration. There is not one shred of evidence that killing raptors and bats will improve the climate. Alaska has cooled more than two degrees since the turn of the century.’