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The Trump Administration’s War on Climate Policy: A View from a Whistleblower Who is Speaking Out

Tuesday, March 27 at 2:00 pm

Speaking in Maine takes us next to Bates College in Lewiston, for a recent talk by Maine native Joel Clement, who quit his job as Director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Department of the Interior in protest over efforts to silence him and his work documenting the effects of climate change.

An Interior Department executive-turned-whistleblower who said the Trump administration retaliated against him for publicly disclosing how climate change affects Alaska Native communities resigned.

In a separate criticism of Interior’s leadership, a group of former department officials, from Republican and Democratic administrations, objected to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s characterization of department employees as not loyal.

Joel Clement, a scientist and policy expert, was removed from his job by Zinke shortly after the disclosure and reassigned to an accounting position for which he has no experience. Clement was among dozens of Senior Executive Service personnel who were quickly, and perhaps unlawfully, reassigned in June, but he was the only person who spoke

Rather than accept a job and be “tucked in a corner,” Clement vowed to work instead toward Zinke’s ouster.

“Keeping my voice is more important than keeping my job,” he said. “I have not found another job yet. I have vast contacts inside the agency and outside. I do believe I can be a strong voice to resisting what the Zinke team is doing.”


Joel Clement, former director of the Office of Policy Analysis and top climate change policy official at the U.S. Department of the Interior, was recently demoted along with other climate policy experts. Clement was also a whistleblower on the Trump administration’s policy of reassigning employees to encourage them to leave government.

Source:  Washington Post

You can hear Nora Flaherty's interview with Clement on Maine Things Considered here.

Music by Our Alarm Clock and RJ Miller