Lamar Smith

Heritage Foundation’s Climate and Energy Policy Summit: Science Deniers Emboldened by Trump’s Electoral Victory

This morning, while introducing the Heritage Foundation’s “premier energy-and-climate-policy event in America,” Becky Norton Dunlop offered a fleeting wisp of reasoned reality.

A growing economy and an improving environment go hand in hand,” Dunlop said. She wasn’t, however, referring to the near-exponential growth in renewable energy jobs that have helped lift the country from the worst recession in a generation and the worst financial crisis in 75 years, the conditions that loomed over the last presidential transition. Nor was she referring to the historic decoupling of Gross Domestic Product from greenhouse gas emissions, which has shown consistent economic growth over the past five years both in the United States and globally while emissions have stabilized and slightly reduced at both scales.

Rather, Dunlop, who is reportedly assisting President-elect Trump’s transition efforts, was referring to stripping public health and environmental oversight of fossil fuel companies and creating “an atmosphere of freedom.”

GOP-led Science Committee Sends Twitter Followers To Breitbart For Climate Misinformation

If you ran the Twitter account for the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology, where do you reckon might you send your 178,000 followers for information on climate change?

Before you all shout “NASA”, we should first remember the GOP-led committee is chaired by Republican Lamar Smith and has a habit of calling climate science denialists and conservative commentators as supposed “expert” witnesses. 

Lamar Smith

Lamar S. Smith

Credentials

Lamar Smith earned a a bachelor's degree in 1969 at Yale University and a law degree in 1975 at Southern Methodist University School of Law. [1]

Background

Representative Lamar S. Smith is a U.S. Republican Representative for Texas's 21st congressional district and Chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology[2]

Who Are the Expert Witnesses Hand Picked by Lamar Smith to Testify on #ExxonKnew Subpoenas?

In July, the chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith, issued subpoenas to two state attorneys general who are currently investigating what ExxonMobil knew about climate science, when they knew it, and if the company misled investors. 

The attorneys general of New York and Massachusetts both refused to turn over any information or communications about their investigations. Each AG's office argued the Committee had no authority to issue such a request, calling the subpoenas a violation of states' rights under the 10th amendment.

In a response last month, Smith, a Republican from Texas, announced a hearing to “affirm” that his Committee did have the legal authority to issue such subpoenas. The legal issue the September 14 hearing will address is whether a Congressional committee has subpoena power over state attorneys general and non-profit advocacy organizations. The subpoena was called “an unprecedented effort to target ongoing state law enforcement 'investigations or potential prosecutions'” by Leslie Dubeck, an attorney in the Office of the New York State Attorney General.

Smith has called three legal experts to bolster his claim — two with direct ties to the same Exxon-funded groups who have pushed climate science denial and inaction to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Lamar “McCarthy 2.0” Smith Subpoenas #ExxonKnew Investigators

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

For those still hungry for more #WebofDenial, here’s a quick roundup of the content before getting to the more recent news: the groups accused of working together on climate denial unsurprisingly worked together to deny these accusations in a joint letter, then repeated their false first amendment defense at Heartland and the National Review, and threw up gish gallops at Heritage and CEI. On the other side, Monday’s text-searchable Hill speeches start on page 89 of the Congressional Record, Tuesday’s start on 213.

Videos are up on YouTube for Senators MarkeyBoxerUdallShaheenPeters, and Tim Kaine, while Media Matters has a compilation of speeches by Shatz, Franken, Heinrich and Whitehouse about the #WebofDenial’s media manipulations. Senator Whitehouse was also interviewed at The Nation, and quoted in coverage by Kate Sheppard, while the Senator’s own op-ed about the 100+ opinion pieces attacking the #ExxonKnew campaign was published in CJR.

In the aftermath of this massive two day effort to detail the #WebofDenial, the Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Lamar Smith, announced on Wednesday that he was issuing subpoenas for communications between climate denial groups and their fossil fuel funders.

Meaningless, Mean-Spirited McCarthyism: Lamar Smith’s Ironic Investigations

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup

Lamar Smith, the Texas Republican who’s received more funding from fossil fuels than any other industry, has repeated his request for private communications between the attorneys general investigating what #ExxonKnew and a handful of NGOs who have exercised their constitutional right to petition those AGs.

As chair of the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Smith has taken it upon himself to return Congress to the glory days of Joseph McCarthy, only instead of smoking out communists, Smith is hunting for those who threaten his fossil fuel donor base.

GOP Representative Lamar Smith On A Foolish Crusade To Discredit Climate Scientists

Lamar Smith, the Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, has launched a one-man crusade to discredit climate scientists whom he believes are only working to advance President Obama’s climate initiatives.

In October, Smith began fighting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) over a study it published showing that climate change had not paused or slowed down — a finding that irks climate science deniers who attempt to argue the opposite, incorrect view.

UK Climate Deniers Invite American Sceptic Judith Curry to Speak in the House of Lords

Lord Lawson’s climate denial charity, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), invited climate sceptic Judith Curry, a professor of School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, to speak in the House of Lords on Monday.

The organisation, which DeSmog UK has revealed to be supported by several Conservative Party donors, invited Curry to talk about the “The state of the US climate debate”.

Curry, who has been invited several times by Republicans to testify at climate change hearings regarding alleged uncertainties on manmade climate change, focused on how the climate debate has been politicised and that science has been “caught in the crossfire” leading to “oversimplification” of the problem of and solutions to climate change.

Texas Congressman Lamar Smith Declares War on NASA and EPA Climate Science Research

Lamar Smith, a Republican member of the US House of Representatives, has declared war on the Obama administration, NASA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to undermine attempts to prevent dangerous climate change, report Kyla Mandel and Brendan Montague from Washington DC, USA.

Speaking at the Heartland Institute’s climate denier conference in Washington DC today, the Texas congressman described how three subpoenas for EPA staff emails and texts have now been issued following claims about “secret emails” and personal use of email accounts by the agency. 

This follows a similar-spirited freedom of information request submitted to the EPA by Chris Horner, a senior legal fellow for the Energy and Environment Legal Institute supported by the ExxonMobil funded Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Science On Trial In America As Courts and Congress Grapple with Industry Pollution

Both the science behind climate change and the efficacy of life-saving safety standards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had a trying week in Washington, D.C., as industry-backed lawsuits and politicians attempted to undermine the entire scientific community.

The EPA is currently battling two major legal obstacles in the courts over the agency's authority to enact and enforce provisions of the Clean Air Act.  This is a power that the U.S. Supreme Court had already ruled was not only within the agency’s jurisdiction, but a duty that it had to perform for the American public.

One of the legal battles took place at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, where the EPA defended its work to limit the amount of mercury and arsenic that energy companies are allowed to release into the air.  According to NRDC, these health standards that are under attack from the dirty energy industry have the potential to save as many as 45,000 lives a year.

Based on the D.C. Circuit’s previous rulings regarding the Clean Air Act, it is likely that the EPA will be the victor in this case. 

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