Video Recap: Rep. Pingree Asks USDA Officials to Address Trump-Era OIG Report on Climate Change Research
In a House Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee hearing today, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) asked Acting U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Undersecretary for Research, Education, and Economics (REE) Dr. Chavonda Jacobs-Young how the REE mission area is coordinating climate change research with other USDA agencies and across the federal government.
“During the last administration, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) was trying to assess whether policy changes resulted in the suppression of any climate change research. One of the things that we heard was that [OIG] wasn’t able to draw a solid conclusion because the REE mission area can’t identify and track scientific publications and issues on any particular subject area,” said Pingree in the hearing. “Given that this is a real focus of your agency on climate change, I’m concerned about the lack of coordination between USDA’s research agencies. So how do you plan to improve coordination of climate change research within the REE mission area, across USDA, and then also across the federal government?”
Dr. Jacobs-Young told Congresswoman Pingree that all of the Agriculture Research Service’s (ARS) federally funded research papers are available online through a publicly accessible site called PubAg, where more than 300,000 full-text journal articles on agricultural sciences are available. Dr. Jacobs-Young answered that USDA REE is working closely with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) to soon include their research in PubAg as well.
Video of Congresswoman Pingree’s questions to USDA REE officials is available online and for download here.
Pingree, a national leader on policies that address climate change in agriculture, has been a vocal advocate for USDA’s climate change research during multiple administrations. Under the previous administration, she led a letter asking USDA Inspector General Phyllis K. Fong to investigate reports of the suppression of valuable climate research by the Agriculture Research Service (ARS).
Congresswoman is the author of the Agriculture Resilience Act, bold and comprehensive legislation that sets a roadmap for net-zero emissions from agriculture by 2040. The bill would increase funding for agriculture research and ensure agriculture research programs prioritize climate change research.