Washington, DC — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has directed its scientists not to respond to surveys even on personal time unless the agency pre-approves the survey questions, according to directives released today by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under this new policy, employees face disciplinary action for disclosing their personal views of their work at a public agency.
In November, the two organizations distributed a 42-question survey to more than 1,400 Fish and Wildlife Service biologists, ecologists, botanists and other science professionals across the country. The survey focuses on employee perceptions about scientific integrity within USFWS, as well as political interference, resources and morale. This survey, like many conducted by PEER since 1995, was mailed to work addresses. But, in reversal of policy established in 2001, the agency ordered scientists not to fill out the surveys even on their own time. Notwithstanding that order, more than 400 scientists, (29.4%), returned the survey. Results will be released Wednesday, February 9, at 1:00 p.m. EST.
What: Phone Briefing on Scientist Survey Results
When: 1:00 p.m. EST Wednesday February 9, 2005
Who: Lexi Shultz, Washington Representative, Union of Concerned Scientists
Rebecca Roose, Program Director, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility
Sally Stefferud, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Scientist (retired)
How: 1-866-259-6033, Conference name: Union of Concerned Scientists