Petitioning the US House of Representatives House Science Committee: Remove Rep. Paul Broun

Rep. Paul Broun publically and vocally has stated that he does not agree with the most basic tenets of scientific process and critical thought. He is incompetent scientifically and damages the Committee and its purpose with his presence.

We the undersigned respectfully request Rep. Broun’s removal from the committee immediately. 

“All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the Big Bang Theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell… And it’s lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

-Paul Broun, Republican Member of the House Science Committee

Congresswoman Defends NOAA Scientists From Lamar Smith 'Witch Hunt'by Katherine Bagley

House science committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) is seen here at a committee event at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, D.C. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

InsideClimate News

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson sends Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee, a blistering critique of his ‘ideological crusade.’

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson delivered a blistering critique of a Republican campaign to discredit the work of federal climate scientists, branding the effort “hyper-aggressive oversight,” a “fishing expedition” and an “ideological crusade.”

The months-long probe of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration researchers is being led by Texas Republican Lamar Smith, chair of the House science committee. Johnson is the committee’s ranking democrat.

“In six separate, and increasingly aggressive, letters,” Johnson wrote in a Nov. 19 letter to Smith, “the only thing you accused NOAA of doing is engaging in climate science—i.e., doing their jobs.” The letter charges Smith of “political posturing intended to influence public opinion” ahead of the Paris climate talks.

Smith responded to Johnson on Monday, calling her “characterization of the Committee’s efforts to obtain data from a government agency under its jurisdiction… inaccurate and misleading.”

The congressman is targeting a June 4 study by federal researchers that refutes the so-called “hiatus” in global warming. The hiatus theory—favored by climate denialists—argues warming has paused or slowed since 1998. The study was led by Tom Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information, and published in the peer-reviewed journal Science.

Since July, Smith has sent NOAA letters and subpoenas asking the agency to provide “all documents and communications” related to the study. NOAA has refused to comply with Smith’s requests for emails, citing the importance of confidentiality among scientists.

“The whole thing is really disconcerting…somebody doesn’t like the result you publish and all of a sudden you have this huge hammer of a congressional subpoena hanging over your head. It has a chilling effect on scientists,” said Andrew Rosenberg, the director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists.

In her letter, Johnson, also from Texas, criticized Smith for not explaining why he was investigating NOAA, as well as for making “sweeping indictments” to media that federal scientists manipulated data to advance President Obama’s climate change agenda.

“In one fell swoop, you have accused a host of different individuals of wrongdoing,” Johnson wrote. “You have accused NOAA’s top research scientists of scientific misconduct. By extension, you have also accused the peer-reviewers at one of our nation’s most prestigious academic journals,Science, of participating in this misconduct (or at least being too incompetent to notice what was going on). If that weren’t enough, you are intimating a grand conspiracy between NOAA and the White House to doctor climate science to advance administration policy. Presumably this accusation extends to [NOAA] Administrator [Kathryn] Sullivan herself.

"And all of these indictments are conjured out of thin air, without you presenting any factual basis for these sweeping accusations—exposing this so-called 'investigation’ for what it truly is: a witch hunt designed to smear the reputations of eminent scientists for partisan gain.”

Johnson first contacted Smith with her concerns about the investigation in October. When Smith didn’t respond, she decided she needed to write him again, said Kristin Kopshever, a House science committee spokeswoman for Johnson.

“Over the past couple of years, the committee has had a lot of investigations,” said Kopshever. It has investigated the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Science Foundation, she said. In September, Smith launched an investigation of Jagadish Shukla, a climate scientist at George Mason University in Virginia who called for a federal probe into whether fossil fuel companies knowingly misled the public on climate change.

What made her word these recent letters [to Smith] so strongly, Kopshever said, “is that he doesn’t have any fact-based allegations against NOAA for wrongdoing or misuse of power or funds that would typically prompt an investigation.”

Smith also wrote two letters to Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker urging her to pressure NOAA to cooperate with the House committee probe. The most recent one was sent on Nov. 18. In it, Smith claimed to have whistleblower communications that show “wrongdoing.”

“Information provided to the Committee by whistleblowers appears to show that the Karl study was rushed to publication despite the concerns and objections of a number of NOAA scientists,” Smith wrote. Pritzker was out of the country last week and asked Sullivan of NOAA to respond on her behalf. “Let me assure you that I am not engaged in or associated with any 'politically correct agenda,’ Sullivan wrote in the Nov. 20 letter. "I have not and will not allow anyone to manipulate the science or coerce the scientists who work for me.”

Johnson requested that the whistleblower information be shared with Democratic members of the science committee. She called Smith’s criticism that the study was “rushed” a “mild accusation"—one not serious enough to warrant a congressional investigation.

"The Constitution doesn’t provide you with a blank check to harass research scientists with whose results you disagree,” she wrote.

In his response letter Monday, Smith said that asking for the source’s information “in a public setting is not only harmful to the Committee’s current investigations, but may have a chilling effect on the willingness of federal employees to report waste, fraud, and abuse to the Committee in the future.”
Republicans just escalated the war over ExxonMobil and climate change
House Science, Space and Technology Committee is issuing subpoenas to the New York and Massachusetts state attorneys general over their investigations of the energy giant's claims about climate change.

Clear abuse of power.

House Science, Space and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) said Wednesday his committee was issuing subpoenas to the New York and Massachusetts state attorneys general, who have issued their own subpoenas as part of probes into whether ExxonMobil misled the public and investors about what it knew about the dangers of climate change decades ago.

Take action to stop these GOP intimidation tactics. 

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you believe the Earth is 9000 years old and act on that belief.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you don’t believe in evolution and act on that belief.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you don’t believe in global warming and act on that belief.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you put your own beliefs ahead of actual science.

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you hold positions contrary to scientific consensus without good reason.*

You should not be allowed to sit on the science committee if you are scientifically illiterate.*

You are living in another reality, a dangerous one, and as a person the people trust (as they are the ones who elected you), you are knowingly leading them down a path away from facts. It’s harmful and it’s dishonest. This is why so many people are misinformed. Because we have these idiots sitting in a committee supposedly dedicated to science saying how evolution and the big bang are, "lies straight from the pit of Hell.“

*Statements by my good friend, Evan W.

Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) has publically and vocally demonstrated his rejection of even the most basic tenets of scientific progress and critical thought.

Evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory are some of the major underpinnings of modern science. Broun condemns them as “lies straight from the pit of hell… to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.”

This man has no right to sit on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and his very presence there discredits the Committee and its purpose.

We’re calling on Ralph Hall, the Committee Chairman, to remove Rep. Broun from the committee immediately. Join the call: sign our petition now!

PETITION TO RALPH HALL: Rep. Paul Broun has no place on a committee dedicated to scientific progress and critical thought, as his recent comments and past actions have proved. Please, remove Rep. Broun from the House Science, Space and Technology Committee immediately.
New York, Massachusetts AGs reject GOP’s climate subpoena
The subpoena is over an investigation into whether Exxon Mobil Corp. lied about what it knew about climate change.
By Timothy Cama

The Democratic attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts are refusing to comply with House Republicans’ subpoena over their climate change investigations.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey wrote letters to House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) Tuesday saying that the subpoenas issued this month fall outside of the panel’s authority and violate their states’ rights.
House committee subpoenas Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey over Exxon investigation
Federal elected officials have opened an investigation into an investigation by the attorneys general of Massachusetts and New York.

Want to see how giant corporations try to rig the system in their favor? Look at what ExxonMobil is doing to try to intimidate Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office is one of several AGs who are investigating whether ExxonMobil broke state consumer and investor protection laws by knowingly misleading people about climate change since the 1970s. She’s doing what state AGs do:  investigating fraud. ExxonMobil first tried to kill the investigation a few weeks ago by suing AG Healey in a Texas court and attacking her integrity because she’s doing her job.

But none of that would scare AG Healey away from doing her job. So last week, ExxonMobil got the chair of the House Science Committee — a Texas Republican who has taken more that $675,000 from oil and gas companies — to subpoena Healey’s communications on this investigation. Yup, that’s right: They found a Congressman who is a powerful climate change denier and who guzzles down big oil money to interfere with a state AG’s ongoing investigation of whether a company is violating state law.

Committee Chairman Lamar Smith says he “takes very seriously his obligation to uphold & defend the Constitution” — but apparently not the 10th Amendment. For the GOP, states’ rights come in to play only if the states are restricting voting rights or regulating women’s bodies. No states rights for states investigating fraud over climate change.

This is an outrageous abuse of Congressional subpoena power to threaten a state Attorney General and help a campaign contributor. Let me offer a word of advice to Rep. Smith and his ExxonMobil buddies: You picked a fight with the wrong state and the wrong Attorney General.