DOI Scientists Involuntarily Reassigned

Silencing Science Tracker

DOI Scientists Involuntarily Reassigned

Approximately fifty senior employees at the Department of the Interior (DOI) were involuntarily reassigned to unrelated positions. Among them was Joel Clement, a scientist who directed the Office of Policy Analysis, helping endangered communities in Alaska adapt to climate change. Mr. Clement was reassigned to an unrelated position as a senior adviser at the Office of Natural Resources Revenue, an accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.

Mr. Clement believes the reassignment was due to him speaking publicly about the dangers climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding his reassignment, Mr. Clement had raised the issue with White House and DOI officials and in international forum, including at a United Nations conference in June 2017. He believes the administration was uncomfortable with his work and that, as a result, he was reassigned with the intent to coerce his resignation.

Update: In September 2017, DOI’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) confirmed that it is investigating the reassignments. In February 2018, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, DOI published approximately 2000 pages of email traffic and other documents relating to the reassignments. The emails indicate that DOI has continued to reassign employees while the OIG investigation is ongoing.

 

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