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Tell Speaker Ryan: Shut down the anti-science House Science Committee.

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Petition to Speaker Paul Ryan

"The House Science Committee’s attempt to silence critics of ExxonMobil is the clearest symbol yet of the committee's blatant corruption and dangerous ignorance. If you are are seriously committed to fixing the 'broken' House of Representatives, stop this sham defense of Exxon, and disband the science committee entirely."

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    Tell Speaker Ryan: Shut down the anti-science House Science Committee.

    Texas Rep Lamar Smith is a full-blown climate denier who thinks climate change is an international conspiracy. He is also the chairman of the House Science Committee — where Republicans have waged an assault on science, working to slash science budgets and launch baseless harassment of scientists and institutions.1

    Now they’re going even further, rushing to the aid of ExxonMobil in a blatant attempt to silence the growing investigation into the company’s decades of climate lies.

    Led by Smith, 13 Republicans sent a letter to 16 attorneys general and eight environmental groups — including 350 and Greenpeace — demanding mountains of documents, and incredibly claiming that inquiries into ExxonMobil’s decades-long effort to obscure climate science amounts to a violation of Exxon’s free speech!2

    Unlike many of his colleagues, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has tried to project the image of a serious reformer. When he was sworn in last year, he said "But let’s be frank. The House is broken. We’re not solving problems, we’re adding to them."3 There is no clearer symbol of those problems than the House Science Committee.

    If Speaker Ryan is truly committed to substantive policy and reforming the House, he needs to shut down this sham, and disband the House Science Committee.

    Scientific American called the House Science committee "a national embarrassment."4 But it's far worse than that. The committee's baseless allegations and hostility to science have wasted millions of dollars of congressional and scientific resources, and had a chilling effect on scientific inquiry, earning a public rebuke last year from seven major American scientific societies.5,6

    Of course, suppressing science is exactly what Smith wants to achieve as more and more evidence comes to light that ExxonMobil was part of a conspiracy to hide the dangerous truth about its products. Exxon knew as early as the 1970’s that burning fossil fuels could lead to catastrophic changes on our planet. But instead of doing the responsible thing, it spent millions to obscure the science and block climate action.6

    Exxon’s actions weren’t simply immoral. They may also have been illegal, and that’s why the pressure on Exxon continues to mount with at least four state attorneys general investigating, and the Department of Justice referring investigation requests to the FBI.

    The letter from the House Science Committee is so desperate that only half of the committee’s 26 Republican members signed on. But the fact remains that allowing efforts to suppress scientific inquiry and evidence-based legal investigations is not only dangerous, it sends the message that House Republicans are still ruled by corruption and ignorance — a record Paul Ryan says he is trying to correct.

    Tell Speaker Ryan: Stop shilling for ExxonMobil. Shut down the House Science Committee.

    This desperate ploy from the House Science Committee has everything to do with the fact that calls are growing for investigations and accountability into Exxon’s lies. Public pressure is mounting, more state attorneys general are joining the investigation, and even ExxonMobil’s big institutional investors — like California pension fund CalPERS — are demanding Exxon begin accounting for a low carbon future in its business models.8

    If our pressure keeps building, the writing is on the wall for Exxon and other organizations who conspired to suppress the dangerous truth about fossil fuels for profit. That means Speaker Ryan has a choice to make.

    Under Rep. Lamar Smith, and Republican committee chairs before him, the transparent goal of the House Science Committee has very clearly been to shill for big donors like ExxonMobil, who are still trying to profit off of destruction and suppression of science. If Speaker Ryan wants to show that his party stands for protecting Americans, and not just destructive corporations and billionaires, it’s long past time for this dangerous committee to go.

    Tell Speaker Ryan: Stop shilling for ExxonMobil. Shut down the House Science Committee.

    1. "Rep Lamar Smith Broadens His Harassment of Scientists," Slate, 3/7/16
    2. "Group of House Republicans Assail Climate Fraud Investigations," InsideClimate 5/19/16
    3. "Paul Ryan elected 54th House speaker," Politico, 10/29/15
    4. "The House of Representatives Committee on Science is turning into a national embarrassment," Scientific American, 3/21/14
    5. "The House science committee hates science and should be disbanded," Slate, 5/14/16
    6. "America’s Scientists To House Science Committee: Go Away," ThinkProgress, 11/25/15
    7. "Top Ten Documents Every Reporter Covering Exxon-Mobil Should Know," Climate Investigations Center, 5/23/16
    8. "Calpers raises heat on Exxon over climate," Financial Times, 5/24/16