Many, if not most, of our regulatory agencies have a long history of protecting industry interests over public and environmental health. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has come under increasing scrutiny following mounting charges of harassment and censorship.
In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan Lundgren, who spent the last 11 years working as an entomologist at the USDA, filed a whistleblower complaint against the agency, claiming he’d suffered retaliation after speaking out about research showing that neonicotinoids had adverse effects on bees.1
In the U.S., nearly all corn, about 90 percent of canola, and approximately half of all soybeans are treated with neonicotinoids. As the use of these pesticideshas gone up, bee and Monarch butterfly populations have plummeted.
After publicly discussing his findings, Lundgren claims that “USDA managers blocked publication of his research, barred him from talking to the media, and disrupted operations at the laboratory he oversaw.”
The Washington Post recently published an article that details Lundgren’s complaints and the retaliation waged against him.2
According to Agri-Pulse,3 the Agriculture Department’s inspector general, Phyllis Fong, has now received so many complaints about harassment and censorship, she’s opening a broad investigation to assess “whether there is a systemic problem in the department.”