Sen. Chris Coons released a following statement in response to the announcement of Sam Clovis as the nominee for the position of U.S. Department of Agriculture undersecretary for research, education and economics.

“I am extremely concerned about the nomination of Sam Clovis for the position of USDA undersecretary for research, education, and economics,” Coons said. “The person who serves as the USDA’s top scientist is required to actually be a scientist. This is not just my opinion, but also a statutory requirement. Mr. Clovis is a former Trump campaign adviser and conservative radio talk show host with no background in the hard sciences, nor expertise in agriculture policy. Additionally, he is an outspoken climate denier, claiming that climate science is ‘junk science’ and ‘not proven’ and stating that the Trump administration would not prioritize climate science in its agriculture policy. I believe that science, not baseless opinion, should underpin our decisions when it comes to our nation’s agriculture policy.”

“Given the serious challenges facing America’s farmers and our food system, from pollinator declines to deteriorating soil health to a changing climate, USDA’s science mission is extremely important. The USDA is critical in helping provide our farmers with the information they need to improve plant and animal resilience, be more effective stewards of their land and adopt new technology and practices on their farms. This could all be at risk if the agency’s head of science has no relevant scientific training and rejects current scientific thinking.”