Wielding the powerful sword of Congressional Subpoena power, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX, Exxon-Mobil), chairman and head of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, is currently holding hearings purportedly seeking communications between environmentalists and state attorneys general who were investigating Exxon Mobil Corp.’s work on climate change. Back in July, citing political motivations, the Texas Republican characterized the attorneys general investigations as being politically motivated and a violation of the company’s rights and issued subpoenas accordingly.
Previously, Smith had subpoenaed NOAA back in 2015 quickly followed by sharp criticisms from many notable scientists that his tactics are eerily similar to those of Senator Joseph McCarthy. Those notable scientists include our favorite “Bad Astronomer”, Phil Plait who wrote two pieces in Slate back in October of last year. I reproduce Phil’s later piece, below. His first piece is here. To her credit, NOAA head Kathryn Sullivan refused to hand over any data and emails from scientists on their use of global satellite data.
Sharon Eubanks, a former Justice Department lawyer who prosecuted tobacco companies; Democratic lawmakers; and the executive director of 350.org will headline the rally over subpoenas from the Texas Republican.
Smith’s subpoenas went to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D), Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey (D) and environmental groups demanding that they relinquish four years of documents and communications related to their Exxon probe.
Smith has suggested that the attorneys general are making a political attempt to stifle foes of mainstream climate science.
The environmental groups boasted new support from legal experts and others alleging that they have been shut out of the committee’s proceedings.
Lamar Smith is widely known to be a science lightweight, not just on Climate issues but on much of everything else related to science. His chairmanship on that committee is a patronage job given to him by his fellow Republican Science Lightweights.
That a Texas Republican (Big Oil Supporter in a state where the state’s GDP is very much tied to Oil) lawmaker is, defacto, using his office and his congressional subpoena power to protect a multi-billion dollar, multi-national, global oil corporation, headquartered in his home state is appalling! It is a huge conflict of interest, apparent to anyone who is paying attention. Although Exxon-Mobil is physically located in Texas’ 24th Congressional District and Smith represents the 21st Congressional District, he should recuse himself for obvious reasons. But then he wouldn’t be able to conduct this witch hunt and would fall out of favor with one of his biggest contributors.
In a sharp rebuke, Smith’s co-committee member Eddie Bernice Johnson, (D-TX), accuses him of overreaching and abusing his power, correctly noting that neither he nor his staff is qualified to examine the data.
This story can be categorized under “Science Illiteracy” or what happens when the patients are running the asylum. Languishing in a Trump administration, these kinds of heavy-handed, denialist tactics would only get worse.
Update: Rep. Lamar Smith Ramps Up His Climate Conspiracy
Oct. 30 2015 9:30 AM
All our science, measured against reality, is primitive and childlike-and yet it is the most precious thing we have
An index of all articles in this blog can be found here.