December 18, 2019

Government Accountability Project Submits Letter to OSC in Support of Climate Science Whistleblower

WASHINGTON — On December 17, Government Accountability Project submitted a letter to the Office of Special Counsel in support of climate scientist and federal whistleblower Dr. George Luber, whose employer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has retaliated against him. He is one of many government scientists who have been sidelined or ousted by political appointees in the Trump administration.

Luber, an accomplished epidemiologist whose work is extensively published in the scientific literature, founded CDC’s Climate and Health Program in 2009 and directed it for 10 years until he was sidelined in late 2018 following the dissolution of the $10 million program.

The letter to OSC states that Luber has suffered retaliation not only for his legal disclosures regarding improper actions taken by his superiors at CDC, but more broadly for his important, public position as a scientific authority on the impacts of human-caused climate change. Luber is one of many other career federal employees across numerous administrative agencies who have encountered retaliatory actions: most notably, former Department of Interior employee Joel Clement, former National Park Service employee Maria Caffrey, former US Department of Agriculture employee Lewis Ziska, and former Environmental Protection Agency employees Betsy Southerland and Jacob Carter. “These attacks are consistent in their impropriety, their indefensibility, and the danger they pose to public health and safety,” the letter states. CDC officials “have done incalculable harm to the public well-being by silencing and vilifying a globally-recognized expert on the public health impacts of anthropogenic climate change.”

Luber’s attorney at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, Kevin Bell, filed a formal whistleblower complaint in August 2019 that is pending a decision by the Special Counsel.

Bell said,

“The actions taken against him amount to bogus accusations and trumped up charges in an obvious attempt to oust him completely.”

Government Accountability Project stands with Luber and all scientists and public servants whose rights are being eviscerated under the current administration.

Anne Polansky, Senior Climate Policy Analyst said,

“We believe it is highly likely that George Luber was targeted for being an effective and outspoken advocate for educating the American people regarding the deleterious public health implications of a climate-changed world. The medical community at large has warned that climate change is a true public health emergency, so it is no less than tragic that our nation’s top human health experts are being prevented from conducting their important work.”

Contact: Katie Miller, Deputy Communications Director

Phone: (202) 457-0034 ext. 125


Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, the Government Accountability Project’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, the Government Accountability Project is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.