Conservative group sues for climate study documents

The right-wing Judicial Watch is suing a federal agency to try to get documents related to a controversial climate change study.

The group is seeking the documents from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) at the same time that Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) is fighting a battle with the agency over its refusal to disclose the documents to him for his investigation into the study.

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“The Obama administration seems to care not one whit for a congressional subpoena but knows from prior experience that a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit cannot be ignored,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement.

“Given the lawless refusal to comply with our FOIA request and a congressional subpoena, we have little doubt that the documents will show the Obama administration put politics before science to advance global warming alarmism,” he said.

Though the lawsuit was announced Tuesday, Judicial Watch filed it Dec. 2.

Two weeks later, NOAA sent Smith some of the documents he wanted, after he pared down his request to exclude internal communications between the scientists working on the study.

Judicial Watch credited its lawsuit with NOAA’s decision to release some information to Smith, who chairs the House Science Committee.

The ongoing dispute centers around a study NOAA published in the journal Science this summer, which showed that there was no yearlong “pause” in global warming. Smith and other climate change deniers were angry at the research because the “pause” is a frequent talking point to disprove climate change.

NOAA declined to comment on Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, since it does not comment on ongoing litigation.

But the agency has consistently defended its actions and fought back against Smith’s accusations that its study was politically motivated.

Judicial Watch said it filed a FOIA request Oct. 30 for a wide range of documents related to the study, and it accused NOAA of ignoring the request and not even formally acknowledging it.