Evi Emmenegger spent 28 years as a research microbiologist at the Western Fisheries Research Center in Seattle, Washington, a biosafety laboratory operated by the US Geological Survey (USGS). It was home to numerous pathogens, including exotic and invasive viruses. Emmenegger says that, in July 2017, she raised concerns to her supervisors about contaminated waste water being released in nearby wetlands over a six-month period, but that no immediate corrective actions were taken. She filed a scientific-integrity complaint in mid-September, according to Jeff Ruch, a director at Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), a non-profit organization in Silver Spring, Maryland, that supports potential government whistle-blowers. In February 2020, PEER highlighted Emmenegger’s case on its website. It claimed that the USGS had dismissed her complaint and sought to fire her because of alleged issues with the quality of a research paper that she had prepared. She was placed on administrative leave for 13 months, but was officially reinstated on 10 May 2021.
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