By Ben Geman - 12/01/09 10:53 PM EST
Inhofe, who is the ranking Republican on the EPW Committee, said in a letter seeking the hearings that the emails raise questions about “potential violations of federal and state information disclosure laws.”
He also claims they reveal a “possible conspiracy” by scientists, including some that have received U.S. taxpayer funds, to stifle debate, among other ills. He says the emails have “far-reaching policy implications” that affect EPA policy and cap-and-trade legislation.
The controversy claimed a victim today when Climatic Research Unit Director Phil Jones said he is stepping aside for the moment.
His statement today:
“What is most important is that CRU continues its world leading research with as little interruption and diversion as possible. After a good deal of consideration I have decided that the best way to achieve this is by stepping aside from the Director's role during the course of the independent review and am grateful to the University for agreeing to this. The Review process will have my full support.”
Update: The scope of the review is "data security, an assessment of how we responded to a deluge of Freedom of Information requests, and any other relevant issues which the independent reviewer advises should be addressed," according to an earlier statement by Trevor Davies, the university's pro-vice-chancellor for research.
The university plans to announce details of the review, including the timeframe and who will lead it, within days.