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Trump nominates anti-science climate denier to lead USDA Science, violating 2008 Farm Bill

Posted Jul. 20, 2017 / Posted by: Audrey Fox

Conservative talk show host has no science or ag background

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Trump Administration yesterday nominated Sam Clovis, a former campaign adviser and conservative radio talk show host, to serve as USDA’s top scientist. Clovis’ nomination comes despite the nominee having no background in the hard sciences, nor expertise in agriculture policy.

Clovis is an outspoken climate denier, claiming that climate science is “junk science” and “not proven” and stating that the Trump Administration would not prioritize climate science in its agriculture policy. If confirmed by the Senate, Clovis would head the USDA’s Research, Education and Economics division, overseeing the entire scientific mission of the USDA, including the agency’s efforts on climate change.

Trump’s nomination of Clovis violates the 2008 Farm Bill, which states that the nominee "shall be appointed by the President… …from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics.” Past undersecretaries have been credentialed scientists including biochemists, plant physiologists and nutritionists.

Lisa Archer, Friends of the Earth’s Food and Technology Program Director, issued the following statement:

The critical challenges facing America’s farmers and our food system, including pollinator declines, deteriorating soil health, and a changing climate, make the USDA’s science mission more important than ever. The USDA cannot help farmers cope with the effects of climate change if the agency’s head of science doesn’t believe in it.  

This nomination is an affront to all of the USDA scientists who work to equip policymakers with the best information available. Science is vital to ensuring a bright future for our country.  

Trump’s pick of an unqualified, extreme right-wing, anti-science, climate-denying talk show host with no credible science or agriculture background is a direct attack on science. Congress must reject Clovis.

Expert contact: Lisa Archer, (510) 900-3144, larcher@foe.org
Communications contact: Patrick Davis, (202) 222-0744, pdavis@foe.org
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