Two former Trump officials to be investigated for posting papers denying climate change
Published Saturday, January 23, 2021 8:07PM EST
In this June 3, 2017 file photo, a coal-fired plant stands in the distance in Juliette, Ga. (AP / Branden Camp)
The U.S. Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General said it will investigate how two former Trump officials posted dubious papers questioning man-made climate change using government logos but without the approval of the Trump administration.
"After careful consideration, we decided to review this matter further," the Commerce Department's Office of Inspector General wrote in a Friday letter to Democratic Sen. Mazie Hirono, who requested the investigation along with fellow Democratic Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse, Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal.
The New York Times first reported the investigation.
The Washington Post reported earlier this month that the White House Office of Science and Technology had reassigned Trump appointees David Legates and Ryan Maue, both senior officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who had been with OSTP since November, after it was discovered they posted the controversial documents on nongovernment websites.
The papers used the imprint of the Executive Office of the president and noted they were copyrighted by OSTP even though the OSTP director never approved, The Post reported.
Legates, the main author on the series of papers, according to the Post, is a longtime climate change skeptic who was originally appointed by the Trump administration to help run NOAA and soon after became the head of the US Global Change Research Program, which coordinates climate change research.