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White House Stonewalling Release Of Climate Change Documents

Today, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is holding a hearing to investigate “political interference in the work of government climate change scientists.” In the days leading up to the hearing, the committee requested documents from the White House Council on Environmental Quality “hoping to use them to underscore the suggestion that the administration has a habit of editing scientific reports to downplay the effects of global warming.” But according to CongressDaily, the White House is refusing to turn over the documents:

By presstime Monday, documents that were requested as recently as last week and as far back as six months ago had not been provided to the committee.

“Right now, the administration’s reaction doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” Waxman’s chief of staff Phil Schiliro said Monday afternoon. “We’ve been trying to get information that we believe the committee should have for six months now. We don’t understand why it hasn’t been provided; this isn’t top secret information.”

A spokesman for Oversight and Government Reform ranking member Thomas Davis, R-Va., also sounded miffed about the difficulty in obtaining documents. “We’re still trying to get them and not happy about it,” the spokesman said.

Even without the documents, the hearing will be a strong indictment of the administration’s politicization of climate science.

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The Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project said they would present “new evidence of suppression and manipulation of climate science” before the committee. Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies will testify about a “now-defunct 2004 requirement that NASA press officers listened in whenever NASA scientists spoke with reporters, either on the telephone or in person.” Rick Piltz, who resigned in 2005 from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program will speak about White House interference with climate change reports and “questionable reviews of scientific research.”