“It’s a form of censorship,” Bruce Babbitt, interior secretary during former president Bill Clinton’s administration, tells The Post.
The Interior Department explains that the process is a means of conserving the budget. “If taxpayer dollars are being spent to send someone to a conference, we’d like some degree of confidence that their attendance will advance the department’s priorities,” spokesperson Faith Vander Voort tells The Post. Those priorities include conservation, sustainable development of natural resources, and protecting the nation’s borders.
The two meetings subject to this extra scrutiny are arranged by the American Geophysical Union and the Geological Society of America.