This just in from U.S. Senator David Vitter’s office here’s now the official press release:
For Immediate Release Contact: Joel DiGrado (Vitter) (202) 224-4623
December 8, 2010 Emily Lawrimore (Barrasso) (202) 224-6441
Vitter, Barrasso Introduce Bill to Ensure Open, Accurate NASA Climate Data
(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Sens. David Vitter and John Barrasso today introduced S. 4015, the Public Access to Historical Records Act, which would dramatically improve the transparency and accuracy of NASA’s historical records and guarantee public access to the data.
“Recent incidents, such as the investigation showing that the Obama administration manipulated data to justify the drilling moratorium, have raised concerns that some scientists and government agencies are using misleading data to support their favored viewpoints,” said Vitter. “This bill would open NASA’s temperature records to public scrutiny and establish an objective set of data to ensure that influential climate research is protected from political agendas.”
“Each year, Americans are forced to spend billions of their hard-earned dollars to support climate change research. Since this administration promised to be the most open administration in history, it should immediately share NASA’s temperature data with the American public,” said Barrasso. “There are too many questions regarding temperature models not to allow all Americans access to this data. This legislation will ensure that our nation has the most accurate and transparent historic temperature record in the world.”
The bill by Vitter and Barrasso is consistent with the Data Quality Act, which requires that scientific information from government agencies be accurate, clear, complete and unbiased. The Public Access to Historical Records Act would require NASA and the National Climatic Data Center to immediately release relevant climate data that outside groups have long been attempting to review through the Freedom of Information Act.
The bill would also force NASA to make all of its raw historical temperature data available online to the public and would require the agency to compile an official U.S. historical temperature record with oversight from an independent council of appointed meteorologists and statisticians. The resulting temperature record would be routinely reviewed for accuracy by an independent auditor and would be required for use as a primary source by any scientists or groups accepting federal money for climate research.
The full bill as presented is available here Temperature-Records-Act-2010 (PDF)
I had a small hand in this, reviewing some language, but the thrust of the bill came from NASA’s stubborn refusal to provide FOI requested data and documents to CEI. Don’t these guys ever learn? Of course this bill is in its infancy, so there’s no telling if it will make it to law, and if it does, how much it will be modified, or if some pork will be added to it.
Laws are like sausages, it is better not to see them being made.
— Otto von Bismarck
So, we’ll watch the sausage being made here, and hope for the best. – Anthony