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 John TrumpNew Bob Woodward book will include details of 25 personal letters between Trump and Kim Jong Un On The Money: Pelosi, Mnuchin talk but make no progress on ending stalemate | Trump grabs 'third rail' of politics with payroll tax pause | Trump uses racist tropes to pitch fair housing repeal to 'suburban housewife' Biden commemorates anniversary of Charlottesville 'Unite the Right' rally: 'We are in a battle for the soul of our nation' 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 MarkeyEdward (Ed) John MarkeyNew poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Sens. Markey, Cruz clash over coronavirus relief: 'It's not a goddamn joke Ted' Sanders offers bill to tax billionaires' wealth gains during pandemic MORE (Mass.), Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenNew poll shows Markey with wide lead over Kennedy in Massachusetts Trump and allies grapple with how to target Harris Chris Wallace: Kamala Harris 'not far to the left despite what Republicans are gonna try to say' MORE (Mass.), Richard Blumenthal (Conn.), Mazie HironoMazie Keiko HironoSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Overnight Defense: Guardsman to testify Lafayette Square clearing was 'unprovoked escalation' | Dems push for controversial Pentagon nominee to withdraw | Watchdog says Pentagon not considering climate change risks to contractors Democrats urge controversial Pentagon policy nominee to withdraw MORE (Hawaii), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenElection security advocates see strong ally in Harris OVERNIGHT ENERGY: Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer | Senate Democrats ask Trump to withdraw controversial public lands nominee | Border wall water use threatens endangered species, environmentalists say Watchdog report raises new questions for top Interior lawyer MORE (Ore.) and Maggie HassanMargaret (Maggie) HassanSenate Democrats demand answers on migrant child trafficking during pandemic Hillicon Valley: Feds warn hackers targeting critical infrastructure | Twitter exploring subscription service | Bill would give DHS cyber agency subpoena power Senate-passed defense spending bill includes clause giving DHS cyber agency subpoena power 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.