Henry Waxman, champion of science integrity on climate, to chair House Energy & Commerce Committee

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Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) has unseated Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as chair of the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee. We testified before Rep. Waxman in January 2007 when, as the new chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, he devoted the committee’s first hearing of the year to the problem of political interference with federal climate scientists. In addition to his work on climate change and many other issues, under his chairmanship the committee advanced the most significant whistleblower rights legislation in U.S. history. See Details for our earlier posts relating to Mr. Waxman.

A selection of our earlier posts relating to Mr. Waxman and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee:

Bush administration censorship key issue in next Congress (November 18, 2006)

Nearly a year after NASA climatologist James Hansen accused federal officials of censoring his views on global warming, scientific freedom is shaping up as a key issue for the next Congress, Environment & Energy Daily reported in its #1 story on November 17.  We said to E&E Daily:  “Mr. Waxman and Mr. Gordon [incoming chairs of the House Government Reform and Science committees] have both been on the case, even as ranking members in the current Congress. I don’t think they’re going to be stonewalled without some kind of response.” We also expect legislation that would offer federal scientists improved whistleblower protections.

Climate Science Watch testimony at House Oversight Hearing (January 30, 2007)

Testimony of Rick Piltz, Director, Climate Science Watch, Government Accountability Project, Washington, DC, Before the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives, Hearing on “Allegations of Political Interference With the Work of Government Climate Change Scientists.”

Major First Amendment groups condemn government censorship of science about global warming (February 12, 2007)

Nine prominent First Amendment organizations issued a statement warning of the consequences of suppression or distortion of information that is essential to sound public policy and government accountability and applauding the January 30 House Oversight and Government Reform hearing on political interference with federal climate scientists.  The statement was organized by the National Coalition Against Censorship.

House Committee set to approve landmark whistleblower rights legislation (February 12, 2007)

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) applauds the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for advancing the most significant whistleblower rights legislation in U.S. history.

House Committee Unanimously Approves Whistleblower Protections (February 16, 2007)

The Government Accountability Project has been working seven years for the reforms to overhaul the law protecting federal government whistleblowers approved by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee February 14.  The bill would extend anti-retaliation rights to those who call attention to the politicization of science by Administration officials.

House approves landmark whistleblower legislation with protection for scientific freedom (March 17, 2007)

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) hailed the March 14 House of Representatives floor vote approving H.R. 985, the Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act, legislation that overhauls federal whistleblower law. Among its numerous provisions, the bill would create specific protection in the law for scientific freedom, making it an abuse of authority to censor, obstruct dissemination, or misrepresent the results of federal research. For the last seven years, GAP has led a campaign working toward this reform’s enactment. The margin of victory is large enough to overcome a veto threatened by the administration.

Cooney, Hansen, and Connaughton testify before House Oversight Committee (March 15, 2007 updated)

The House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), held a hearing on Monday, March 19, “To Examine Allegations of Political Interference with Government Climate Change Science (Part II).” White House Council on Environmental Quality Chair James Connaughton is scheduled to testify, along with former CEQ Chief of Staff Phil Cooney, who resigned in June 2005.  Cooney, who until now has been entirely reticent about speaking publicly on his own behalf, will be making his first, very likely reluctant, Congressional appearance.  Also appearing will be leading federal climate scientist Jim Hansen, along the former staffer in the NASA public affairs office who foolishly tried to silence him(with spectacular lack of success).

House Oversight deadline for White House to release climate change documents (July 10, 2007)

In a bipartisan June 20 letter to White House Council on Environmental Quality Chairman James Connaughton, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Ranking Member Tom Davis (R-VA) set a firm deadline of June 27 for the White House to provide climate change documents that were requested eleven months ago. Despite numerous discussions and requests, CEQ has withheld more than 500 documents from the Committee. What do these documents contain? Who is responsible for CEQ’s stonewalling?

GAP to honor whistleblowers and defenders at 30th anniversary gala (September 25, 2007)

On September 26, the Government Accountability Project (GAP) will celebrate its 30th anniversary and recognize the vital importance of whistleblowing in society. At the event, guest-hosted by Erin Brockovich, GAP will honor several whistleblowers and congressional champions of government accountability, public safety, and whistleblower protections.  Among the honorees in attendance will be Rep. Henry Waxman, Chairman, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

House Oversight report on administration political interference with climate change science (December 10, 2007))

On December 10 the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), released a proposed report on the results of a 16-month investigation of allegations of political interference with government climate change science under the Bush Administration. The report draws on more than 27,000 pages of documents obtained by the Committee from the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and the Commerce Department. The report draws on and validates information we and others brought forward, and includes material that has not previously been published. On the corrupting influence of CEQ, we told Greenwire: “Everybody was complicit. Everybody knew what was going on, although nobody had the full story, because the tentacles of CEQ were out in so many different directions.”

House Oversight approves report on political interference with climate science communication (December 12, 2007)

On December 12 the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee approved a majority report that concludes that the Bush Administration politically interfered with climate change science communication and misled policymakers and the public about the dangers of global warming. The Committee was divided. The Republican minority put forward a “Preliminary Minority Views” report that draws conclusions based on unquestioningly accepting at face value misleading statements by Phil Cooney and other current and former administration officials.

Waxman to EPA: Why is work on required greenhouse gas regulation being blocked? (March 12, 2008)

Since the Environmental Protection Agency informed the White House in December 2007 of its finding that carbon dioxide emissions are a danger to the United States and proposed significant cuts in motor vehicle emissions, the agency’s regulatory efforts have been halted. In a March 12 letter to EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman cites information provided to the Committee by seven senior EPA officials on how a major effort to comply with the Supreme Court ruling in Massachusetts v. EPA has beeen blocked.

 

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