Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility have a new press release:
Washington, D.C.– Federal scientists working for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation have been ordered to raise funds to support their research projects or face unfavorable performance evaluations, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The scientists are tasked with finding private, state and other federal sponsors to buy the scientists’ time. […]
These new “marketing performance standards” apply so far to approximately 30 scientists working within the Bureau’s Ecological Planning & Assessment and Ecological Research & Investigations units located in Denver, Colorado. Similar entrepreneurial standards are being proposed for other units in the Bureau of Reclamation as well as other agencies within the Interior Department.
Now, the Bureau of Reclamation isn’t exactly what it sounds like — it’s the federal agency responsible for managing dams, water, hydroelectric power in the American West. I’m sure there are some mixed feelings about the agency among Grist readers, but requiring the group that does the NEPA legwork to raise outside money strikes me as pernicious. The Ecological Research & Investigations unit already thinks in terms of outside “clients,” however, so it may be a different case. But the main problem that PEER is trying to highlight seems to be that scientists shouldn’t have to do fundraising in order to be considered in good standing as federal employees.
Thanks to Chris Mooney for the heads-up.