U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, expressed concern this week over reports of Department of Agriculture officials hiding research on the effects of climate change.
Underwood wrote a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Purdue detailing her concerns over news reports about the department avoiding the publication of such information, according to a news release.
“Ignoring the link between climate change and extreme weather presents a direct threat to our national security, food security, and to the livelihoods of Illinois farmers and farmers throughout the country,” Underwood said in the letter. “Undermining public discourse on climate change by obfuscating research is dangerous.”
The representative also pointed to reports detailing how USDA researchers feared professional retaliation for publishing independent scientific findings that “do not align with the administration’s political positions,” according to her letter.
She added that such action hurts farmers.
“Farmers across the country are already suffering the consequences of climate change,” Underwood wrote. “The very existence of multi-generational farms and an entire way of life for some families are at risk.”
Underwood also requested that Purdue explain how the USDA was preserving and promoting research, and to explain its position on climate change and its effects on agriculture.
“I look forward ... to working with you to ensure America’s farmers have the information they need to succeed as our society navigates the challenges posed by a changing climate,” Underwood wrote.