Citing budget concerns, a House committee will squander money on investigating NOAA
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — After spending months trying to discredit climate scientists and cast doubt on their research, House Republicans will try a new tactic by directly attacking the government agency responsible not only for research, but for compiling climate and weather data and providing critical forecast services.
Ralph Hall, chairman of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee last week said he plans to launch a formal investigation into the formation of a climate service at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration — a move perceived by some climate researchers and environmental advocates as pure political harassment.
According to Hall, NOAA is forbidden to establish a climate service unless Congress explicitly authorizes such a move. In March, Hall wrote NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco requesting documents related to the NOAA Climate Service, including any changes to the roles and responsibilities associated with the agency’s organizational structure, reporting lines, review processes, program oversight, or program advocacy. A follow-up letter was sent September 6.
The committee is justifying its attack on the agency by citing budget concerns.
“The current fiscal climate demands greater prioritization of agency resources, and it would be irresponsible to dramatically cut NOAA’s core research activities including those aimed at protecting lives and property in order to stand up a new operational service prone to politicization and policy advocacy,” Hall said in a press release.
But that doesn’t disguise the fact that this assault on a federal agency is politically motivated and rooted in an atmosphere of ideologically driven anti-science.
Hall claims NOAA has started implementing a climate service by establishing an executive board and appointing an interim director.
During the 2011 budget wars, Hall’d committee attached an anti-science rider to a spending bill that prohibits NOAA from using funds to “implement, establish, or create a NOAA Climate Service as described in the draft NOAA Climate Service Strategic Vision and Framework.