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Republicans on the House Oversight and Reform Committee are looking for answers on whether politics is preventing science from overseeing the federal government’s report on climate change after the overthrow of a scientist from the Biden White House who was respected on both sides of the aisle.
In mid-April, the White House Science and Technology Bureau removed Betsy Weatherhead as director of the National Climate Assessment. Weatherhead was a civil servant appointed to the position during the Trump administration in November 2020. She has over two decades of climate science experience in government, private sector, and academia. Weatherhead has repeatedly stated that human-made climate change is a serious problem.
Two Republicans – Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., Senior member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, and Ralph Norman, RS.C., senior member of the environmental subcommittee – are now calling on the White House to do so From January 20 to May 4, present documents explaining the reason for their removal.
“The Biden administration seems to be following politics, not science, when it comes to their radical environmental agenda,” Comer and Norman told Fox News in a joint statement.
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“Dr. Betsy Weatherhead is a skilled and respected academic, with decades of experience, and received bipartisan applause when [she] has been appointed director of the National Climate Assessment, “added the members of the GOP House.” Their sudden removal raises many political motivation questions that need to be answered by Biden’s science and technology policy office. “
The White House has not yet responded or provided documents to the two Republicans in the House.
Weatherhead is still employed by the government and has been assigned to the US Geological Survey.
The White House Science and Technology Policy Office (OSTP) has not responded to inquiries about this story.
In particular, the two Republicans are asking the White House for all communications related to the decision to reassign Weatherhead. any documents related to the OSTP’s plans to complete the national climate assessment by 2023 without a director; and all documents between the OSTP and outside persons or organizations related to the decision to reassign Weatherhead.
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The National Climate Assessment is a Congressional commissioned report designed to guide the federal government’s climate policy and “summarize the effects of climate change on the United States now and in the future.” A group of more than 300 experts is helping to prepare the report under the direction of a 60-strong federal advisory board.
Weatherhead had said it wanted to incorporate the views of a variety of scholars from a wide range of perspectives, claiming this would make the report’s conclusions more defensible, according to the Washington Post.
Comer and Norman requested the documents in a letter to White House Deputy Director for Climate and Environment Jane Lubchenco dated May 4.
“While Dr. Weatherhead has decades of experience in climate science in both the private and academic sectors, it appears that the Biden administration continues to purge government officials based on their ties to the Trump administration,” the letter said.
He later adds, “When Dr. Weatherhead was appointed director of the National Climate Assessment, she received broad acclaim from Democrats, Republicans and even officials in the Obama administration … with deep praise from both sides of the political corridor for the qualifications of Dr. Weatherhead, her reassignment within the first few months of a new administration based solely on her ties to the Trump administration is yet another example of a deeply troubling political agenda by the partisans. “
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In part because Weatherhead has raised concerns about climate change, some were surprised the Trump administration had named her – as a civil servant – as head of climate assessment, the Washington Post reported. The then OSTP director Kelvin Droegemeir appointed her to this position.
After the Trump administration hired Weatherhead to lead the assessment, Democratic-affiliated climate officials welcomed the decision, the newspaper said. These included Don Wuebbles, the director of President Barack Obama’s fourth climate assessment in the White House, and Gavin Schmidt, the Biden administration’s selection as NASA’s climate advisor.
In addition to her tenure, Weatherhead was a senior scientist at Jupiter Intelligence, a private company advising businesses and governments on preparing for climate change. She was also at the University of Colorado for nearly 25 years, where she served on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reporting and was a former member of the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association’s scientific advisory board, the Post reported.