WASHINGTON (August 23, 2017)—Today Senators Schumer and Schatz called for President Trump to withdraw the nomination of Sam Clovis for the role of chief scientist at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). From the start, the Union of Concerned Scientists has opposed the nomination on the grounds that Clovis has no background in science or agriculture, as is required by law, and is a vocal climate denier who believes climate science is “junk science.” In light of recent investigations, we’re also deeply troubled by the prospect of a USDA chief scientist, responsible for overseeing scientific integrity and fact-based decision making, who advanced unsubstantiated conspiracy theories and made racially offensive and homophobic statements just a few years ago.
Below is a statement by Mike Lavender, senior Washington representative at UCS.
“We applaud Senators Schumer and Schatz for taking a strong stand against Sam Clovis. Clovis’s appointment as USDA chief scientist is unacceptable and would lower the high standards that America’s scientists, universities, farmers and consumers expect. His ignorant and offensive statements on race and LGBTQ issues expose how much of a threat Clovis is to science-based governance—and to communities across the US. We encourage senators on both sides of the aisle to join this effort to protect all Americans from the dangers of eliminating rigorous scientific decision-making from a key administrative position that will shape the future of our nation's food and farm system.”