September 10, 2019

Science Group Calls for Secretary Ross to Resign, Full Investigation of Manipulation of Science at NOAA

Statement by Dr. Andrew Rosenberg, Union of Concerned Scientists

WASHINGTON (September 10, 2019)—Today, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) called on Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to resign after reports emerged that he ordered the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to disavow accurate statements contradicting President Donald Trump. This is an abuse of power that shows Secretary Ross is unfit to serve and demands Congressional oversight, according to UCS.

Below is a statement by Andrew 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.

“Manipulating science based on politics is absolutely unacceptable—especially when that science is as critical to American lives as hurricane forecasting. The directive ordering the National Weather Service to refrain from contradicting President Trump’s misinformation is a shocking breach of public trust.

“This is not the first time Secretary Ross has misled the public and pushed the public interest aside to advance the narrow political interest of the White House. The job of overseeing NOAA, the Census, and other agencies is too important to be left in the hands of a political appointee who doesn’t put the public first. Secretary Ross is clearly unwilling to do that. He should resign.

“We commend the meteorologists and researchers at the National Weather Service who have stood up to political pressure and spoken the plain truth on this issue. We’ve seen a pattern of political interference with science in this administration, on issues ranging from climate to chemical safety to air pollution, but trying to dictate weather forecasts to soothe the President’s ego is a new low. The Trump administration’s abuse of science is a clear sign they don’t respect their own expert staff or the needs of the public on whose safety, health, and wellbeing rely on them. 

“While we’ve called for a scientific integrity investigation at NOAA, and the Commerce Department’s inspector general is also investigating, this problem clearly goes all the way to the top. Congress should investigate what role the White House played in this effort to suppress accurate scientific information.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists puts rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet's most pressing problems. Joining with people across the country, we combine technical analysis and effective advocacy to create innovative, practical solutions for a healthy, safe, and sustainable future.