Last week I wrote about Congressman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and his attacks on federal scientists, trying to intimidate and bully them because he didn’t believe the science they were sciencing. Smith had demanded to be given copies of all emails sent by a group of climate scientists working for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) relating to recent research they had published that debunked the idea that global climate change is on hiatus – the so-called (and mythical) “global warming pause”.
NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan basically told Smith to go Cheney himself, refusing to turn over the emails and refusing to allow him to bully and intimidate her staff.
Yesterday, Smith has backed down:
House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) on Tuesday took a new tack in his confrontation with federal officials over a high-profile climate change study, backing away — for now — from his demands that the emails of the scientists who wrote it be turned over to lawmakers. […]
[F]or the first time since he issued a subpoena to NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan in October for emails and other communications showing the deliberations of both the scientists who did the research and high-level staff, Smith gave the agency a pass on the scientists.
“In order to move the Committee’s work forward…the Committee is willing to accommodate NOAA and prioritize communications sent and received by non-scientific personnel,” Smith wrote.
Smith is still demanding emails of the administrators at NOAA but he has ended his misguided effort to play politics with science and to victimize the scientists who work for the federal government, at least for now. He is, however, leaving the door open to coming back at them again some time in the future.