WASHINGTON – Two senior U.S. Geological Survey officials have stepped down after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke demanded that they provide his office with confidential data on the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska before it was released to the general public.
Murray Hitzman and Larry Meinert – who had served as the agency’s associate director for energy and minerals and acting deputy associate director for energy and minerals mission area, respectively – charge that the request violated the USGS’s scientific integrity policy because such commercially valuable data should not be shared in advance…. (Note: Hitzman worked for Anaconda in Alaska and as a staff member in Senator Joe Liberman’s office. Meinert is a wine, food & climate connoisseur, and more. 🙂 -dh)
Interior spokeswoman Heather Swift, however, said Wednesday that the solicitor’s department had determined that Zinke and his deputy, David Bernhardt, have to right to “review data, draft reports, or other information as it deems necessary” under the department’s 1950 reorganization plan. (Washington Post story by