06-25-19 US Senator Bennet, Senate Colleagues Call on Trump Administration to Release Climate-Related Studies Conducted by USDA

US Senator Bennet, Senate Colleagues Call on Trump Administration to Release Climate-Related Studies Conducted by USDA

Washington, D.C. – Yesterday, U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Udall (D-NM), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) called on the Trump Administration to provide more information after a recent report revealed the administration has only publicized two of at least 45 climate-related studies reviewed by the non-partisan Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) since President Trump took office. In a letter to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, the senators demanded the agency provide a complete list of its climate-related studies, which demonstrate the effects of climate change, to Congress.

“It is vital that the Trump Administration and USDA properly communicate taxpayer-funded research about the increasing dangers of climate change,” the senators wrote. “Our offices continue to hear from constituents about the ongoing impacts of extreme weather patterns. This attempted suppression of scientific research is a disservice to the American people as we develop policy solutions to combat climate change.”

Beyond requesting release of the climate-related studies conducted since early 2017, the letter also outlined the senators’ intentions to request oversight of the release of the studies from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) to ensure full transparency of the process.

The text of the letter can be found HERE and below.

The Honorable Sonny Perdue

Secretary

United States Department of Agriculture

1400 Independence Ave SW

Washington, D.C. 20250

Dear Secretary Perdue,

We write to raise concerns regarding reports that President Trump’s United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) refused to publicize government-funded studies that contain information about the effects of climate change. 

In order to immediately rectify this, we request that the USDA provide Members of Congress with a complete list of climate-related studies from January 2017 to present. It was reported that, since President Trump has taken office, the Agricultural Research Service has only issued releases for two of, at least, forty-five climate-related studies. Conclusions from this research can offer opportunities for the agricultural industry to play a vital role in climate mitigation.  

Additionally, we are going to request the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) provide oversight over the release of USDA’s climate-related studies. It is vital that the Trump Administration and USDA properly communicate taxpayer-funded research about the increasing dangers of climate change. Our offices continue to hear from constituents about the ongoing impacts of extreme weather patterns. This attempted suppression of scientific research is a disservice to the American people as we develop policy solutions to combat climate change.

Sincerely,

Michael Bennet, Colorado’s senior U.S. Senator, serves as Ranking Member of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Forestry, and Natural Resources.