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Why This Matters: The pattern is hauntingly familiar to anyone watching the impeachment hearings and trial. Good public servants — some appointed by the President and some career — were doing their best to deal with the fallout from the rash actions of a President blatantly misusing the power of his office. They tried to calm fears and keep essential government functions working in order to uphold their sworn oath to “protect and defend” our country. But one has to wonder why the political leaders did not speak up more. And I (Monica) applaud my former colleagues at NOAA like Craig McLean who did. What the President and some of the leaders at the Department of Commerce did was unconscionable and they did not live up to their oaths. No President should ever change an official hurricane forecast map. EVER. The public must have confidence that no one plays politics with a hurricane forecast.
Documents Tell The Tale of SharpieGate
First, recall that the President, when he showed his doctored forecast map, claimed that Alabama “will most likely be hit (much) harder than anticipated” by Hurricane Dorian. According to The Washington Post, Trump’s statement “was widely interpreted within NOAA’s National Weather Service as contradicting an accurate forecast due to political pressure from the White House and the Department of Commerce.” The emails show that top NOAA officials knew right away that the map had been doctored and that what the President said was wrong. Media requests came in from all directions and to many offices immediately after the President’s oval office statement with the doctored map. NOAA’s office of public affairs struggled to get the word out to the agency — “The chart shown in the briefing is old and doctored to extend the cone to Alabama,” Corey Pieper of NOAA’s press office wrote in an email to colleagues.
Second, the President’s acting Chief of Staff directed NOAA to issue a statement rebuking the local forecast office that had by tweet immediately corrected the President’s misinformation about the storm track. That set off a firestorm across the agency and triggered low moral. In an e-mail to the acting head of NOAA, NOAA’s Head of Research said, “What’s next? Climate science is a hoax?…Flabbergasted to leave our forecasters hanging in the political wind,” and signed it, “Embarrassed, Craig.” Some leaders considered quitting but appear to have stayed out of a sense of duty. In response to another anguished email, the acting head of NOAA told an employee, “You have no idea how hard I’m fighting to keep politics out of science.”
Boy, are we blowing it. After the July 4th holiday weekend cases of COVID-19 surged in the United States due to a piecemeal response by governors throughout the country. Last week, the EU banned American travelers, while Canada is fining them and Mexico is working to introduce tighter restrictions on them. It seems as if […]
After the New York Times reported that the proposal would be forthcoming, yesterday, allies of both former Vice President Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders released a joint set of policy recommendations to tackle the climate crisis. The recommendations signal a commitment to cooperation among the progressive wing of the party with the more mainstream base. […]
E&E News led with a story yesterday about the numerous environmental groups who received government support under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) even as they were suing the government over policies they believed the Trump administration got wrong.
Why This Matters: The E&E story seems to imply that environmental groups should not be suing the Trump administration — they sought comments from numerous groups as to they were taking the money while continuing to file lawsuits.
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