House Dems accuse White House of censoring federal scientists

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Democrats issued a draft report Monday accusing the White House of censoring federal scientists, editing reports and otherwise politicizing global warming talks. The committee Wednesday will vote on the report, which is being released during the final week of U.N. climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia.

It summarizes 16 months of committee investigation, including two hearings, 27,000 pages of documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality and the Commerce Department, depositions and interviews, according to the draft report circulated by Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman, D-Calif.

"The evidence before the Committee leads to one inescapable conclusion: the Bush Administration has engaged in a systematic effort to manipulate climate change science and mislead policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming," the draft report states.

The White House dismissed the panel's conclusions. "It's rehashed rhetoric that has come out of the Democrats beforehand and it is rejected as being untrue," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino said. Asked if the White House had ever asked agency employees to suppress climate change information, Perino said, "Not that I'm aware -- I don't believe that is true." Perino sought to showcase Bush's efforts on global warming, including a Sept. 30 meeting on the issue with leaders of economic powers and U.S. participation in discussions in Bali.

The report said the White House exerted unusual control over the public statements of federal scientists on climate change issues. It heavily edited congressional testimony from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Julie Gerberding and other federal scientists on human activity's impact on climate change, the report states.

There were at least 294 edits to the administration's Strategic Plan of the Climate Change Science Program "to exaggerate or emphasize scientific uncertainties or to deemphasize or diminish the importance of the human role in global warming," the report states. White House edits of EPA's draft Report on the Environment also were "extreme" and included "a reference to a discredited, industry-funded paper."

In a preview of Wednesday's partisan fight, committee Republicans said the draft is flawed and blamed Democrats for politicizing the issue. "An investigation that began as a bipartisan inquiry into the role of the Council on Environmental Quality in climate change policy has veered into a partisan diatribe against the Bush Administration," according to a response from Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Tom Davis, R-Va.

"The Majority has relied on selective passages from two hearings, one deposition, and one transcribed interview to make grossly exaggerated claims of political interference with climate change science." Republican say there is no evidence of political interference with science.

The report is instead "directed at the role of policymakers in -- guess what -- making and expressing Administration policy," the Republican response said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.