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Richard Morrison, 202.331.2273
Washington, D.C., September 22, 2004—In a behind-the-scenes move with far reaching implications, the Senate Appropriations Committee last week approved a bill including language that would shield one of the federal government’s most important scientific agencies from legal requirements mandating integrity in government science. A clause in the annual appropriations bill for the Department of Commerce and other agencies (S. 2809) would exempt research produced by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from complying with the Federal Data Quality Act, which requires that data circulated by federal agencies conform to standards of scientific integrity.
“This quiet ploy is clearly aimed at avoiding the inevitable lawsuits exposing the junk science, much of it traceable to NOAA, which has been employed in government publications in recent years, including two alarmist global warming reports,” said Christopher C. Horner, Senior Fellow and Counsel at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “The apparent strategy here – that any agency or department report using NOAA science will now be above the law – guts existing data quality rules in the very context which forced Congress to enact them in the first place.”
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, in response to a lawsuit filed by CEI, was previously forced to admit that at least one such federal study—the National Assessment on Climate Change—was never subjected to the requirements to the Data Quality Act and thus does not represent government policy.
“The Data Quality Act is a valuable tool to stop federal agencies from producing or using faulty and biased information,” said Myron Ebell, Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy. “How any Senator could be against basing public policy on sound science is beyond belief.”