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Long Time to Recover

The Trump Administration has weakened the influence of science on governmental policy-making and various policies have led many government researchers to leave, the New York Times reports.

For instance, relocating the US Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture to near Kansas City delayed the publication of research reports and research funding, as well as led many agency workers to leave. Additionally, the Times notes that a survey of federal scientists found that most respondents said hiring freezes and staff departures made it hard for them to do their work.

"Regulations come and go, but the thinning out of scientific capacity in the government will take a long time to get back," Joel Clement, a former top climate-policy expert at the Interior Department, tells the Times.

Robert Kavlock, a retired Environmental Protection Agency toxicologist, adds that the loss of experienced researchers will lead to the loss of years of "institutional memory." Sonny Ramaswamy, who directed the National Institute of Food and Agriculture until 2018 also says at the Times that it will take years to rebuild what was lost at that agency.