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House probes global warming censorship

KAI RYSSDAL: Wade past the headline items like ethics reform and minimum wage and you get to right about where we are in the new congressional session. The really hard things. We told you about the budget a minute ago. Now Democrats on Capitol Hill have begun using their newfound powers of oversight. The majority wants to take a closer look at White House policies on global warming. At a House hearing today lawmakers looked into allegations administration officials have been squeezing federal scientists studying climate change. Eric Niiler has more.


ERIC NIILER: A survey of 279 federal scientists found nearly half were pressured to drop references to global warming in their research. Study author Francesco Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists told the panel today that the changes amount to censorship.
FRANCESCO GRIFO: What we are calling for is that scientists are allowed to speak about their scientific results and get that information out to the taxpayers that are paying for it, to the community at large, to policymakers, to everyone that needs to really understand this issue.

Missouri Democrat William Lacy Clay said Administration officials have a clear agenda.

WILLIAM LACY CLAY: They have shown they would rather safeguard the interests of Big Oil than preserve the future of Planet Earth.

White House officials were not scheduled to speak today. They've refused to hand over documents the committee wants to see. President Bush has said he's concerned about global warming. But, he says, mandatory cuts of greenhouse gases would cost too much.

In Washington, I'm Eric Niiler for Marketplace.

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