Energy & Environment

Senate Democrats accuse administration of burying climate change reports

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Senate Democrats are accusing the Trump administration of burying climate change reports and more generally undermining science. 

Lawmakers released a report and a list of more than 1,400 Department of Agriculture (USDA) climate studies on Thursday, saying that the administration has “largely failed to publicize” climate research. 

{mosads}The report accuses the administration of “burying climate crisis research” in addition to laying out dozens of other instances alleging that it has tried to weaken science.

Among the examples laid out by Democrats is USDA research on climate change, “including a landmark study on rising CO2 levels causing nutrient loss in rice,” the report stated.

It also says that the White House last year “buried the federal government’s fourth National Climate Assessment by releasing it over Thanksgiving.”

The list includes dozens of actions and reported actions by the White House, Environmental Protection Agency, Agriculture Department and other executive agencies. 

In a statement to Politico, a spokesperson for USDA rejected the Democratic claims.

“We have repeatedly provided the Senate Agriculture Committee with evidence to the contrary, and the department has been transparent and communicative to the committee in response to their questions on research,” the statement said. “The list of studies linked in the report were provided by the USDA to the committee and are all publicly available.”

Democrats are pushing for passage of legislation titled the Scientific Integrity Act, which aims to protect science from political interference. 

The accusations follow President Trump’s high-profile disagreement with scientists on the path of Hurricane Dorian.

After the president continued to insist that Alabama had been a possible storm target, the National Weather Service’s Birmingham office tweeted that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.”

Days later, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) disavowed the Weather Service tweet. The New York Times reported that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had threatened to fire top NOAA staff, although the Commerce Department has denied this. 

In another related development, NBC News reported on Friday that the administration was largely ignoring an internal report that showed that migration increased in parts of Guatemala that were impacted by climate change. 

The crisis at the southern border has been driven by migrants from Guatemala and two other Central American nations.

Tags Brian Schatz Debbie Stabenow Donald Trump Wilbur Ross
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