One of the federal government’s top climate scientists has filed a whistleblower complaint alleging unlawful treatment by the U.S. in an effort to silence him about the human health impacts of rising global temperatures.
Dr. George Luber, an epidemiologist who headed the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Climate and Health Program before it was eliminated it last year, seeks whistleblower protection against various forms of retaliation he says he has endured for speaking out against the Trump Administration’s push to end all climate research in the U.S.
Although still an employee of the CDC, Dr. Luber has been barred from speaking publicly about climate change, has been isolated from his colleagues, and isn’t allowed to set foot on the CDC campus without consenting to a humiliating vehicle and body search. He also faces suspension and termination.
According to Inside Climate News, Dr. Luber fell under fire in July after he accepted a First Amendment Award from the Hugh M. Hefner Foundation and attended a series of meetings with the congressional oversight committee to discuss how the Trump Administration was eliminating the CDC’s climate research.
Dr. Luber was one of the lead authors of the chapter on human health in the National Climate Assessment released last fall. He also has published several scientific studies on heat-related health risks, climate change and the spread of infectious disease, and public health strategies for adaptation to the changing climate.
His globally respected work, however, has been waylaid since Trump took office. He is also one of the latest officials and programs carrying out vital work that have been on the Administration’s chopping block because they don’t fit the president’s agenda.
The U.S. Navy has killed its 10-year-old Task Force on Climate Change. The Department of Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have removed or greatly restricted all information about climate from their websites. The government has also dismantled research and programs geared to helping farmers and the general public cope with the effects of climate change on agriculture and food production.
Dr. Luber isn’t the only government official to seek whistleblower protection. Geography specialist Maria Caffrey filed a whistleblower petition and lawsuit alleging she lost her job at the National Park Service because she refused to eliminate parts of a report she prepared detailing the impacts of climate change on national parks.
Inside Climate News also notes that Joel Clement, a policy analyst with the Department of the Interior, “invoked the whistleblower law after he said he was demoted for speaking about protections for Native Americans in Alaska and risks they face from climate change.”
Kevin Bell, staff counsel of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a nonprofit that is representing Luber, told Inside Climate News that Dr. Luber is “absolutely isolated.”
“The impact on his health and his family is absolutely overwhelming. All of the people he has worked with and relied on for 16 years are not even allowed to speak to him. He’s just waiting for the day when he is finally fired,” Mr. Bell said.
Anyone who has any expertise that can challenge Trump’s agenda is being intentionally and systematically assaulted by this administration, Mr. Bell said.
“It’s not just because they disagree with climate change science, but they disagree with expertise in general,” Mr. Bell told Inside Climate News. “George’s case is one of many — any program that looks like it hypothetically could be a threat to the narrative or to the president’s ego” is under attack by bureaucrats seeking favor with Trump, he said.
Beasley Allen has an experienced group of lawyers dedicated to handling whistleblower cases. The lawyers on our firm’s Whistleblower Litigation Team are Archie Grubb, Larry Golston, Lance Gould and Paul Evans. These lawyers will be glad to discuss any potential whistleblower claim either in person or by phone.