Chair of the House “Science” Committee Goes After NOAA Scientists

Here’s Yer Real Witchhunt

Lamar Smith Lamar’s religious affiliation is Christian Scientist, but he is actually a lawyer, not a scientist.*

Lamar Smith, a career Republican Congressman from Texas since 1987, heads up the House Science and Technology Committee. Why, you might ask yourself, would the Republican House assign a strident climate denyolator as the head of this key committee? Would it be because he has a background in science? No, it would not: the only science he knows is how to feed from the public trough. The answer is that the last thing Republicans want is a steady and unbiased hand on the helm.

Lamar’s assignment: make sure the climatologists don’t upset his clients, the fossil fuel lobby with observations about the increasingly unbalanced state of the world’s climate. Unfortunately, NOAA (the federal agency with the satellites) has had a fair amount of bad news lately, especially concerning the increased and accelerating rate of surface temperature increase in the oceans. The agency has also had the temerity to push back vigorously against the latest denialist big lie (the pretend pause in global warming gambit).

In October, 2105, Lamar’s boys upped the ante in their oversight of the scientists at NOAA by issuing subpoenaes for all records used the by agency in determining climate data*. Pointing out that they had already provided the data sought by Lamar, NOAA declined to play in his sandbox.

* To be fair, Smith goes to great pains to point out the he won the “Bausch and Lomb Science Award” in high school. The House Committee on Science and Technology sets a high bar for chairman.
**This witch hunt brings to mind the harassment of University of Virginia climate scientist Michael E. Mann by then Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

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