White House refuses to release climate policy documents

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Chairman Henry Waxman

The United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing today on the accusation that the Bush Administration had interfered with data regarding climate change in order "to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming." On January 23, 2007, Chairman Henry Waxman (D) and Tom Davis (R) had requested documents from the Council on Environmental Quality but were denied access.

Waxman said that, "The committee isn't trying to obtain state secrets or documents that could affect our immediate national security. We are simply seeking answers to whether the White House's political staff is inappropriately censoring impartial government scientists. We know that the White House possesses documents that contain evidence of an attempt by senior administration officials to mislead the public by injecting doubt into the science of global warming and minimize the potential danger."

During the hearing, two private advocacy groups, one of which was the Union of Concerned Scientists, also presented a survey to the panel that revealed that 279 scientists working for the government had been pressured into minimizing the threat of global warming in their reports. Almost half of the 279 said that they were told to delete any references to "global warming" or "climate change" in their reports. The scientists in the survey all worked for a wide array of government agencies: NASA, Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Department of Defense, and the Department of Interior.