GOP senators call for probe of federal grants on climate change

GOP senators call for probe of federal grants on climate change
© Greg Nash

A group of Republican senators is calling for an investigation into National Science Foundation (NSF) grants designed to educate meteorologists about climate change, saying the program has moved beyond science and into political action.

Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWashington needs to end hidden inflation tax on our capital gains GOP tax writer introduces bill to reduce capital gains taxes Senators push to clear backlog in testing rape kits MORE (Texas), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulThe Hill's Morning Report — Trump and Congress at odds over Russia GOP leader blocks resolution backing intelligence community on Russia Rand Paul blocks Sanders's Russia resolution, calls it 'crazy hatred' against Trump MORE (Ky.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordGOP seeks separation from Trump on Russia Hillicon Valley: EU hits Google with record B fine | Trump tries to clarify Russia remarks | Sinclair changing deal to win over FCC | Election security bill gets traction | Robocall firm exposed voter data Election security bill picks up new support in Senate MORE (Okla.) and Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeTrump’s policies, actions create divide on Russia New EPA chief draws sharp contrast to Pruitt Senate takes symbolic shot at Trump tariffs MORE (Okla.) requested the probe in a letter Wednesday to the NSF inspector general, saying the grants are “not science – it is propagandizing," NBC News reported.

The letter states that the foundation has “issued several grants which seek to influence political and social debate rather than conduct scientific research.” The senators say that issuing the grants might violate the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from taking public political stances, as well as NSF’s mission, according to NBC News.

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The federal program, called Climate Central, has been in place for six years and has taught more than 500 meteorologists about global warming, NBC News reported.

Climate Central CEO Ben Strauss pushed back against the GOP senators' claims.

“Climate Central is not an advocacy organization, and the scientific consensus on climate change is not a political viewpoint,” Strauss said in an email to NBC News.

Several top Trump administration officials, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Court rejects new effort to stop kids' climate lawsuit | Baltimore is latest city to sue over climate change | EPA staffers worried about toxic chemical in Pruitt's desk Pruitt staffers worried about toxic chemical in his desk Andrew Wheeler must reverse damage to American heartland MORE, have cast doubt on the scientific community's consensus regarding the causes of climate change.

Pruitt said last year that human behavior is not a “primary contributor” to climate change.