Over the weekend, Dr. David Legates was named deputy assistant secretary of Commerce for environmental observation and prediction at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). This newly created position at NOAA does not require Senate confirmation.
Dr. Legates is a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Delaware and an outspoken denier that humans contribute to climate change. He is affiliated with the Heartland Institute and his research has been funded by fossil fuel companies, including Koch Industries.
Chairwoman Eddie Bernice Johnson (D-TX)made the following statement.
“I am extremely concerned that the quiet weekend appointment of David Legates is another move by the Trump Administration to place climate deniers in key political positions to silence federal climate scientists, as has occurred at the EPA and Interior Department. At a time when our nation is suffering from compound climate hazards and extreme weather, including devastating wildfires and extreme heat in the West, derechos in the Midwest, and a record-setting hyper-active Atlantic hurricane season, Dr. Legates’ appointment is not only troubling but potentially dangerous.
“NOAA is our nation’s leading climate and weather agency and provides crucial and timely information, tools, and decision-support services to keep U.S. communities safe. I strongly urge Dr. Legates to publicly affirm that he will uphold NOAA’s scientific integrity policy during his time at NOAA, to prevent political interests from interfering with the agency’s research and communications.”