Read time: 1 minute

Whistleblower: USDA Punished Me For Tying Pesticides To Hive Collapse

His complaint caps months of speculation among beekeepers and other scientists who have been following his case.
Whistleblower: USDA Punished Me For Tying Pesticides To Hive Collapse
Image from: melina1965

Ever since the Reagan era, regulators have been under enormous pressure to withhold important research that affects corporate interests -- even when it's about something as critical as the alarming decline of bees:

A highly regarded federal scientist filed a whistleblower complaint Wednesday against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), charging that he was punished for publicizing research showing a link between pesticides and the decline in bees and other pollinators.

Jonathan Lundgren, a USDA entomologist in Brookings, S.D., said in civil service documents that while the agency did not stop publication of the research, supervisors harassed him, tried to stop him from speaking out, and interfered with new projects.

His complaint caps months of speculation among beekeepers and other scientists who have been following his case. It was filed within the federal civil service system with support by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a national nonprofit that defends government scientists on controversial environmental issues.

“We think the USDA is reflecting complaints from corporate stakeholders,” said Jeff Ruch, the group’s executive director. “This research is drawing consternation, which flows down the USDA chain of command to the researchers doing the work.”

Officials from the Agricultural Research Service, the USDA branch where Lundgren works, declined to answer questions about the case. In a prepared statement, spokesman Christopher Bentley said the agency is committed to scientific integrity.


Comments

We welcome relevant, respectful comments. Any comments that are sexist or in any other way deemed hateful by our staff will be deleted and constitute grounds for a ban from posting on the site. Please refer to our Terms of Service (revised 3/17/2016) for information on our posting policy.