State officials of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) commissioned a scientific report on Galveston Bay, and hired three scientists to write it, including John Anderson, an oceanographer at Rice University. The scientists knew there might be problems; after all, the head of TCEQ is a Rick Perry appointee who frequently claims scientific arguments that human activities are changing the climate are a hoax. Perry himself says that such science is inconclusive. So the scientists were careful to only use research that had appeared in peer-reviewed journals, and that science says that Texas it at high risk from climate change from things including increasing numbers of hurricanes along its long coastline and this summer’s wildfires and drought.
But before the TCEQ published the report, they decided to remove every single mention of human-induced climate change and rising sea levels. According to report author John Anderson, “They just simply went through and summarily struck out any reference to climate change, any reference to sea level rise, any reference to human influence – it was edited or eliminated. … we live in a state of denial in the state of Texas.” For example, they deleted a reference to the sea level in the bay rising five times faster than the historical average, which is simply a scientific fact. So the three scientists who worked on the report have asked that their names be removed from it.
But what takes this situation from the realm of irony into hypocrisy is that the TCEQ officials are defending their censorship. When the Houston Chronicle asked TCEQ why they censored the report, a spokeswoman gave no reasons but just said that the agency disagreed with information in it. She further claimed that “It would be irresponsible to take whatever is sent to us and publish it.” So when will they decide that they don’t like gravity and repeal it?