USDA rejects whistleblower's appeal

USDA entomologist Jonathan Lundgren
USDA entomologist Jonathan Lundgren stood in a pollinator food plot on July 31, 2015 near Brookings, South Dakota.
Dan Gunderson | MPR News 2015

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has rejected an appeal by a scientist who says his pesticide research was repressed.

USDA entomologist Jonathan Lundgren filed a complaint with the department in 2014, claiming he was restricted from publishing and talking about his research on pesticides and pollinating insects. The USDA found his complaint without merit, so Lundgren filed an appeal, which was rejected.

A separate whistleblower complaint filed by Lundgren is moving forward.

Lundgren's attorney, Jeff Ruch, works for the group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which is suing the USDA over its scientific integrity policy. Ruch said Lundgren wasn't allowed to participate in the appeal.

"From what we can tell, the things that happened to him (Lundgren), like being restrained from talking to reporters or having his name taken off of work to be published is all proper under the USDA scientific integrity policy," Ruch said.

A USDA spokesperson said the allegation of scientific misconduct is untrue and misleading.

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