Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vindicated Arctic Scientist Retires With Cash Settlement


Washington, DC December 4, 2013 — The federal scientist whose sightings of drowned polar bears galvanized public understanding of climate change in the Arctic has retired as part of a settlement of his whistleblower complaint against the U.S. Department of Interior. The agreement, posted today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), ends a benighted attempt to officially punish and intimidate scientists for the political implications of their work.

Following its inability to identify any scientific error, BOEM ultimately issued Dr. Monnett a letter of reprimand, the lowest level of discipline, for a series of five emails he sent to outside individuals in 2007 and 2008 – actions the agency had known about since before the IG investigation but never acted upon. Through PEER, Dr. Monnett filed a whistleblower complaint with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) on several grounds, including that the emails documented BOEM legal violations in trying to ram through Arctic offshore drilling permits that were later thrown out in court.

"This agency attempted to silence me, discredit me and our work and send a chilling message to other scientists at a key time when permits for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic were being considered. They failed on the first two goals, but I believe that what they did to me did make others afraid to speak up, even internally. Following over two years of hell for me and my family, my name has been cleared and the accusations against the scientific findings in our paper have been shown to be groundless" Monnett said. "However, I can no longer in good conscience work for an agency that promotes dishonesty, punishes those who actually stand up for scientific integrity, and that cannot tolerate scientific work not pre-shaped to serve its agenda." (my em)

[...] "If there was any doubt, the five-year employment ban on such a well-qualified, award-winning scientist makes it unmistakably clear that independent scientific views are not welcome in any corner of the Department of Interior."
Score one tiny one for us "warmers". The Department of the Interior needs a thorough cleansing.

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