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.

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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 PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas 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.