CSW Director Rick Piltz will testify at House Oversight Committee hearing January 30

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The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform will hold a hearing on “Allegations of Political Interference With the Work of Government Climate Change Scientists” on Tuesday, January 30, at 10:00 a.m., in Room 2157, Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, DC.  We will post our testimony on this Web site at the time of the hearing.

The committee has announced the following witness list for the hearing:

Dr. Drew Shindell, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Mr. Rick Piltz, former Senior Associate, U.S. Climate Change Science Program
Dr. Francesca Grifo, Senior Scientist and Director of the Scientific Integrity program, Union of Concerned Scientists
Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor in the University of Colorado’s Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Environmental Sciences

The Associated Press reported (excerpt):

Congress Begins Tackling Climate Issues

By H. JOSEF HEBERT
The Associated Press
Monday, January 29, 2007; 6:59 PM

WASHINGTON—A House panel will hear new allegations of political pressure on government climate scientists at a hearing Tuesday, while two presidential hopefuls will outline their proposals on global warming at a Senate hearing.

The Democratic-controlled Congress was focusing on climate change this week as an international panel of scientists gathers in Paris to release a report that is expected to reinforce concerns over so-called greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are warming the earth.

Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., was scheduled to hear testimony Tuesday from several current and former government climate officials who have complained of political pressure by the Bush administration to play down the seriousness of the climate issue.

Among the witnesses called by Waxman is Rick Piltz, who resigned in 2005 from the government’s office that coordinates climate programs, alleging that a political appointee was severely editing government reports on climate to tone them down.

That official, Philip Cooney, later resigned as chief of staff at the White House Council on Environmental Quality to go to work for Exxon Mobil Corp.

The hearing is expected to go beyond the Cooney incident and expand into allegations of broader interference.

The Union of Concerned Scientists, a private advocacy group, and the Government Accountability Project, or GAP, a legal-assistant group that represents whistle-blowers, said Monday they will present “new evidence of suppression and manipulation of climate science.”

The groups said their findings cover seven federal agencies and include information about “firsthand experiences” by government climate scientists and workers.

GAP in 2005 made public internal documents related to the Cooney incident and represented Piltz as a whistle-blower.

Waxman has asked for complete copies of 39 documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, or CEQ, and the Environmental Protection Agency related to climate programs including scientific research.

Included were a request to CEQ Chairman James Connaugton for papers on any efforts by CEQ “to manage or influence statements made by government scientists or experts to representatives of media regarding climate change.”…

Copyright Associated Press

E&E News reported (excerpt)(by subscription):

Monday, January 29, 2007

Waxman set to barrel into scientific suppression issue

Lauren Morello, E&E Daily reporter

The topic of scientific censorship within the federal government takes center-stage starting tomorrow with a hearing in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Current and former federal climate scientists are set to testify at the hearing, which continues the House panel’s probe into allegations that the Bush administration censored public statements about global warming.

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and ranking member Tom Davis (R-Va.) have requested complete copies of climate-related documents from seven current and former officials with the White House Council on Environmental Quality. And two advocacy groups—the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project—will release a report to coincide with the House hearing, which they said contains “new evidence of suppression and manipulation of climate science in seven federal agencies.”

Also, the Senate Commerce Committee late last week announced its own plans to examine reports of government scientific censorship at a hearing next week….

In an interview shortly after the November elections, Waxman predicted scientific censorship would be a key issue for his party. “Democrats are not going to sweep this issue under the rug,” he said. “If the administration tries to censor scientists or sweep science under the rug, they’re not going to get away with it” (E&E Daily, Nov. 17, 2006)….

Among those set to testify tomorrow is former government scientist Rick Piltz, who now directs the Government Accountability Project’s Climate Science Watch. Piltz resigned from the federal Climate Change Science Program in early 2005, citing the intrusion of politics into the scientific arena and an allegedly questionable scientific review process overseen by top White House officials.

Also on the witness list are Drew Shindell, a climatologist at the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies and a colleague of Hansen’s, and Francesca Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

No Bush administration representatives are expected, an aide to Waxman said, though the committee had not finalized its witness list as of Friday afternoon.

Schedule: The hearing is scheduled for tomorrow at 10 a.m. in 2154 Rayburn.

Witnesses: Rick Piltz, director of Climate Science Watch; Francesca Griffo, director of the Science Integrity Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists; and Drew Shindell, climatologist at the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies.

Copyright E&E Publishing, LLC

 

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