The Nov. 9 Federal Eye column, “House subpoena of NOAA assailed” [The Fed Page], completely missed the mark in describing oversight efforts by the House Science Committee to understand the full context of a decision by employees at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to alter historical temperature data.
In June, NOAA employees altered temperature data to get politically correct results and then widely publicized their conclusions as refuting the nearly two-decade pause in climate change we have experienced. The agency refuses to reveal how those decisions were made. Congress has a constitutional responsibility to review actions by the executive branch that have far-reaching policy implications. Meanwhile, NOAA has yet to identify any legal basis for withholding documents from the committee.
The column reported on claims that congressional oversight could have a “chilling effect” on research. But scientists who are federal employees and use taxpayer dollars for their research have an obligation to be transparent. If NOAA played politics with climate data, it should come clean. Stonewalling legitimate congressional oversight will further erode public trust in government-funded science. If NOAA has nothing to hide, why not provide the communications to support the agency’s claims?
Lamar Smith, Washington
The writer, a Republican, is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology and represents Texas’s 21st District in the House.