NOAA Nominee Jacobs’ Record Calls into Question His Fitness to Lead Agency

Statement by Andrew Rosenberg, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Dec 19, 2019

WASHINGTON (December 18, 2019)—President Donald Trump will nominate Neil Jacobs, the acting head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as the agency’s permanent leader. Jacobs’ actions in the wake of Trump’s misinformation around Hurricane Dorian are cause for worry, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Dr. Andrew A. Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS. Dr. Rosenberg previously served as the deputy director of the National Marine Fisheries Service at NOAA.

“When President Trump altered a hurricane forecast and threatened to punish any NOAA scientists who disagreed with him, Neil Jacobs shamefully joined other political appointees in standing with the president’s ego and not his own staff. Jacobs tried to justify the actions of the president, chief of staff and secretary of commerce rather than defending the work of his agency. Those actions call into question his ability to lead and his commitment to the mission of the agency. In fact, there’s an ongoing scientific integrity investigation over the administration’s efforts to pressure scientists, in which Jacobs is involved.

“NOAA is meant to serve the public by delivering trustworthy, scientific information to protect public health and safety—not serve a president’s political agenda. Manipulation of science for political ends is unacceptable, and the Senate should scrutinize Jacobs closely as they consider his nomination.”