"Continued Censoring"

March 9, 2007
Memos Tell Officials How to Discuss Climate

Felicity Barringer, New York Times - March 8, 2007

Internal memorandums circulated in the Alaskan division of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service appear to require government biologists or other employees traveling in countries around the Arctic not to discuss climate change, polar bears or sea ice if they are not designated to do so.

Today Democrats on the Science Committee respond:

Gordon, Miller Seek Explanation on Continued Censoring of Federal Climate Scientists

(Washington, DC) In a letter today to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, House Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) and Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Brad Miller (D-NC) asked for an explanation as to why federal scientists -- this time at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) -- are being prohibited from discussing the issue of climate change.

In an article by Felicity Barringer in the New York Times today, it was reported that the USFWS scientists had been instructed not to speak of global warming in relation to efforts to save Arctic species -- such as polar bears -- whose survival is threatened by the warming Arctic environment.

This "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," wrote the Chairmen in their letter to Secretary Dick Kempthorne.

The letter requests the following documents by 5 p.m., March 23, 2007:

1. The Region 7 document entitled "Subject Foreign Travel - New Requirements - Please Review and Comply."

2. All documents relating to foreign travel issued by the Department of the Interior or any of its subdivisions from January 1, 2006, to the present.

3. All records relating to foreign travel and climate change, polar bears, and/or sea ice from January 1, 2006, to the present.

4. All communications received from any federal office, agency or the White House concerning climate change, polar bears and/or sea ice from January 1, 2006, to the present.

5. All records relating to the Administration's policies on climate change, polar bears and sea ice from January 1, 2006, to the present.

6. All records relating to the negotiation and finalization of the Arctic Council's Senior Arctic Officials meeting agenda.

Read the full letter (pdf) >>