By Charles P. Pierce
8 February 2017
WASHINGTON (Esquire) – The House of Representatives organized its committees on Tuesday, setting up the ground rules for the real mischief to come. One of these committees is the ironically named House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, and it is chaired by one Lamar Smith, Republican of Texas. Congressman Smith is a complete creature of the fossil fuel industry. Smith is one of the more prominent climate denialists in a caucus full of them. In the previous Congress, as chairman of this same committee, Smith got the committee rules changed so that he was allowed to issue subpoenas acting unilaterally. He then went to town.
He went after the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration when it issued a report saying that there had been no alleged “hiatus” in climate change, burying the scientists behind the report in subpoena. (We will be returning to this topic later in our broadcast.) Not to put too fine a point on it but, as The New Yorker reported last fall, Congressman Smith is completely bananas. […]
on Tuesday, chairman Smith organized his committee for the coming session. In his opening statement, it became clear that age doth not wither, nor custom stale, his infinite supply of pure Krazee. In his opening statement, Smith made it clear that NOAA is in his sights again, and that he still believes that scientists are conniving to impoverish Good Old Ordinary Americans with their science-y trickeration. But not ol' Lamar Smith. He's got their number. The committee's Tuesday meeting was titled, and I am not kidding about this, “Making the EPA Great Again.”
“The Science Advisory Board provides critical feedback to the EPA on its proposals,” said Smith in his opening statement, in a way that wouldn't make anyone suspect that he's a little paranoid on the subject. “But in recent years, SAB experts have become nothing more than rubberstamps who approve all of the EPA's regulations. The EPA routinely stacks this board with friendly scientists who receive millions of dollars in grants from the federal government. The conflict of interest here is clear.” […]
So sayeth the man who's taken over six-hundred large in oil and gas money since he's been in Congress. Anyway, Smith hastened to move on to the latest wingnut cause celebre: another attack on NOAA and the science of climate change. An anonymous “whistleblower” told that noted scientific journal, The Daily Mail, that NOAA fudged that report debunking the notion of a climate change “pause” that so exercised Smith in the last Congress. (I told you we'd get back to this.) All of what Smith called “recent news stories” flow from this report in the Daily Mail. Ars Technica has a good rundown on the “controversy,” which seems to consist of little more than nasty office feuds that set Smith off on another anti-science rampage. [more]