We knew Henry Waxman was going to be in the business of creating scandals and conspiracies to investigate when the Democrats took over congress last year. Yesterday his office released an ominous sounding report about how the Bush administration has allegedly been silencing and censoring information about catastrophic climate change.
Today Max Mayfield, the former director of the National Hurricane Center, had to go on the record that he wasn’t pressured to change his testimony about the role of global warming in the frequency and strength of hurricanes.
“I can truthfully say that no one told me at any time what to say in regard to possible impacts of climate change on tropical cyclones,” said Max Mayfield in an e-mail to ABC News.
Mayfield was responding to questions about a section in a new report titled “Political Interference With Climate Change Science Under the Bush Administration” — the end result of a 16-month investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The committee is chaired by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif.
The report notes that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Mayfield was due to testify at a Sept. 2005 hearing before the Senate Commerce Committee on disaster prevention. The connection between global warming and stronger hurricanes had been getting renewed attention after new scientific studies released over the previous summer.
The Waxman report details an e-mail from Tom Jones, a staffer for Alaska’s Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, that he wrote to Noel Turner, an employee in the Office of Legislative Affairs at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in the days leading up to the hearings. Jones apparently wanted Mayfield to say that global warming was not making hurricanes stronger.
“We’re going to work on smacking the [expletive] out of this issue,” Jones wrote. “I’d love to have an answer from him that doesn’t contain any long words or flavor of equivocation. Something like, ‘mr chairman, the individuals who are implying that Katrina has something to do with global warming are just plain wrong. They don’t understand the science and they’re shamelessly trying to make political hay out of a national tragedy.'”
Turner then e-mailed a colleague at NOAA about Jones’ request.
“If we can get something close and quotable, that would probably be good,” Jones wrote. “I think the number one priority with this hearing is making FEMA [the Federal Emergency Management Agency] look bad. Number two could be killing the climate change and hurricanes issue.”
The Waxman report claims that “this political motivation seems to have impacted NOAA testimony and talking points” because Mayfield’s written testimony included a statement similar to what Jones had asked for.
For example, Mayfield’s written testimony read in part: “the increased activity since 1995 is due to natural fluctuations/cycles of hurricane activity driven by the Atlantic Ocean itself along with the atmosphere above it and not enhanced substantially by global warming.”
Mayfield, however, denies that anyone told him to alter his testimony as the Waxman report suggests.
“I want the record to show that no one forced me to say anything on the subject of climate change and tropical cyclones that I didn’t believe at the time,” Mayfield told ABC News.
As Bryan at Hot Air points out, this committee didn’t even bother asking Mayfield about what happened. Waxman and his bunch just ran with the conspiratorial thinking because it plays into the moonbat preconceived notions.