Don't ask U.S. workers about warming

March 9, 2007

The head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said protocol is the reason employees going to meetings about the Arctic are not to discuss climate change.

The New York Times reported that agency Director H. Dale Hall said memos stating that two employees traveling to international meetings on the Arctic would not respond to questions about climate change, polar bears and sea ice are "consistent with staying with our commitment to the other countries to talk about only what's on the agenda."

The memorandums stating that the employees would not to discuss climate change were reported Thursday in the New York Times and on the Web site of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.

One of the employees, Janet E. Hohn, is scheduled to attend a meeting on conserving Arctic animals and plants. The other, polar bear expert Craig Perham, plans to advise Siberian coast villagers on avoiding bear encounters, something he was invited to do by the World Wildlife Fund, the Times reported.

Hall told the Times "these memoranda could have been better worded." He also told the newspaper that requiring employees to stick to the agenda has "been a longstanding practice."

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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