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 CruzOvernight Health Care — Presented by Carequest — Colin Powell's death highlights risks for immunocompromised The Senate confirmation process is broken — Senate Democrats can fix it Australian politician on Cruz, vaccines: 'We don't need your lectures, thanks mate' MORE (Texas), Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulVaccine 'resisters' are a real problem Democrats fret as longshot candidates pull money, attention Journalist Dave Levinthal discusses 'uptick' in congressional stock trade violations MORE (Ky.), James LankfordJames Paul LankfordBill requiring companies report cyber incidents moves forward in the Senate Manchin's 'red line' on abortion splits Democrats Lankford draws second GOP primary challenger in Oklahoma MORE (Okla.) and Jim InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeOvernight Defense & National Security — Presented by Raytheon Technologies — Navy probe reveals disastrous ship fire response Sailors didn't know what to do in USS Bonhomme Richard fire, Navy probe finds Pentagon says almost half of Afghan evacuees at US bases are children 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 & Environment — Biden makes return to pre-Trump national monument boundaries official Trump-era EPA board member sues over firing EPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children 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.