Geology

2 scientists have left the Interior Department after Zinke demanded confidential energy data

2 scientists have left the Interior Department after Zinke demanded confidential energy data

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. Section 3c of the policy states, "Particularly sensitive results, however, such as energy...

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