The US Department of Agriculture’s science division just rejected a White House order stopping scientists and other employees from sharing their findings with the American public.
In a defiant email sent to scientists on Tuesday evening, Chavonda Jacobs-Young, administrator of the department’s science arm, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), told researchers that the original order “is hereby rescinded” reported BuzzFeed News.
After several news outlets reported on the unprecedented “gag order’ from the Trump administration, the Agriculture Department received an avalanche of criticism from the scientific community for what many in it suggested was the suppression of science and a potential violation of its scientific integrity policy by USDA.
“Any efforts to interfere with scientific agencies’ ability to communicate with Congress, federal or state agencies or the public concerns us,” Stefano Bertuzzi, chief executive of the American Society for Microbiology, told BuzzFeed in a statement.
“To our knowledge, there is not a precedent for large-scale communication freezes like this,” Gretchen Goldman, research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the website.