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Former State Official Urges Scientists To Speak Up About Their Findings

Tia Nelson Says 'Best Science' Needed For Policy-Making

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A former Wisconsin official blocked from working on climate change issues while at her state job is urging scientists to speak up about their efforts.

Tia Nelson, daughter of former U.S. senator and Earth Day founder Gaylord Nelson, left her job as executive director at the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands after Republican board members halted the agency from working on climate change. Nelson contended her departure was unrelated to the directive.

On Tuesday, Nelson told a Madison meeting of the North American Congress for Conservation Biology that scientists need to continue to speak out.

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“It’s essential that we at every turn, and every opportunity, speak up, speak out tell our story and ensure that we’re bringing the best science to our public policy making,” said Nelson.

But Jeff Ruch, who represents many federal government scientists, said agency managers often hamper scientific results.

“Because they can rewrite them and internally peer review them, by people whose professional incentives require them to say, ‘Yes, sir!’” he said.

Ruch said there is a growing body of law that, in theory, provides some legal protection for those who create scientific and technical products.

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