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Lawmakers push NOAA to prevent future 'Sharpiegate'

Lawmakers push NOAA to prevent future 'Sharpiegate'
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Democratic lawmakers are asking for assurances from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the agency will put measures in place to prevent a future “Sharpiegate” incident.

June report from the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) found that the agency violated its scientific integrity policy by issuing a statement in September contradicting the National Weather Service shortly after President TrumpDonald TrumpBlinken holds first calls as Biden's secretary of State Senators discussing Trump censure resolution Dobbs: Republicans lost in 2020 because they 'forgot who was the true leader' MORE said Hurricane Dorian was headed toward Alabama.

“While you dispute the NAPA findings in your response — stating that the tweet and NOAA statement on Hurricane Dorian are 'not the types of science and research to which the [scientific integrity] policy applies—it remains clear that this incident casts serious doubt over NOAA’s ability to ensure the scientific integrity of its world-class employees,” Democratic Sens. Ed MarkeyEd MarkeyHillicon Valley: Raimondo wades into 230 debate | Google cuts donations to election result deniers | House GOP unveils tech plan Markey questions Facebook on 'failed commitment' to stop recommending political groups Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge MORE (Mass.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden argues for legislative patience, urgent action amid crisis Financial firms brace for Biden's consumer agency chief Tim Ryan says he's 'looking seriously' at running for Portman's Senate seat MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoOVERNIGHT ENERGY: Internal watchdog to probe Trump officials who cast doubt on climate science | Kerry on climate talks: 'I regret that my country has been absent' | Biden leans on Obama-era appointees on climate Internal watchdog to probe Trump officials who cast doubt on climate science Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators MORE (Hawaii), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenWhat the shift in Senate control means for marijuana policy reform Hawley files ethics counter-complaint against seven Democratic senators Hillicon Valley: Intelligence agency gathers US smartphone location data without warrants, memo says | Democrats seek answers on impact of Russian hack on DOJ, courts | Airbnb offers Biden administration help with vaccine distribution MORE (Ore.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanModerates vow to 'be a force' under Biden Bipartisan Senate gang to talk with Biden aide on coronavirus relief Bipartisan group of senators: The election is over MORE (N.H.) wrote in a letter to NOAA.

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NOAA wrote in a Sept. 6 statement that “tropical storm-force winds from Hurricane Dorian could impact Alabama,” contradicting a Sept. 1 statement from the National Weather Service in Birmingham that said the state would see “no impacts” from the hurricane. 

The statement came after Trump insisted that Alabama should prepare for the storm, which ultimately landed on the East Coast. In defending his claim, Trump used a marked-up projection map produced by NOAA that conflicted with information given by weather forecasters.

The NAPA report, which was requested by NOAA following public pressure, found that “the development of the statement was not based on science but appears to be largely driven by external influence from senior Commerce [Department] officials who drafted the Sept. 6 statement.”

The lawmakers argue NOAA must “determine what steps you will take to implement or even to exceed NAPA’s recommendations in order to establish an ethically sound culture at NOAA that ensures scientific integrity is paramount.”

NOAA did not immediately respond to request for comment from The Hill.