Jonathan Lundgren, PH.D has specified that the USDA is retaliating against him by suspending him from his lab for publishing research that has been “deemed” sensitive.
Dr. Lundgren has worked for the USDA for eleven years with cutting edge research and international recognition. His whistleblower complaint has requested the transfer of his entire lab with support staff to another University as a result of the harassing behavior subjected to by the USDA.
In April, Dr. Lundgren published a study in The Science of Nature specifying that clothianidin, a neonicotinoid seed treatment, kills monarch butterfly larvae in the laboratory.
On August 3, 2015, USDA imposed a 14-day suspension against Dr. Lundgren for submitting the Science of Nature study and for a paperwork error in his travel authorization for his invited presentation about his research to a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, as well as to a USDA stakeholder group, the Pennsylvania No-Till Alliance.
The suspension was cut to 14 days from 30 after Dr. Lundgren filed an appeal. He said, “It was clear that the motivation for it [was] associated with my talking to the press about pesticide risks.” USDA’s ARS department approved the press interview and the publications discussed in the interview. The whistelblower complaint alleges: “This abrupt onset of actions undoubtedly appears to have been prompted by the scientific activities that are supposed to be specifically safeguarded and encouraged under the USDA Scientific Integrity Policy.”
“Having research published in prestigious journals and being invited to present before the National Academy of Sciences should be sources of official pride, not punishment,” said PEER Staff Counsel Laura Dumais. “Politics inside USDA have made entomology into a most perilous discipline.”
PEER submitted a whistle blower complaint on behalf of Dr. Lundgren (http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/usda/10_26_15_Lundgren_Whistleblower_%20Complaint.pdf) citing evidence of harassing behavior. In April PEER revealed that USDA management uses USDA’s Scientific Integrity Policy to suppress technical work of employees when industry stakeholders disagree with scientific conclusion, by filing a complaint against the agency.
Public Employees for Public Responsibility