Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who has been openly skeptical regarding global climate change, will use one of the House’s seven remaining workdays this year to chair a hearing regarding the possible existence of life outside of Earth.
Smith, chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, will lead “Astrobiology: Search for Biosignatures in our Solar System and Beyond?” Wednesday morning.
The hearing’s charter states that, “With the discovery of potential Earth-like planets outside of our Solar System, the hearing will also investigate what methods are being used to determine if any of these planets may harbor life. The hearing will explore existing and planned astrobiology research strategies and roadmaps.”
Though the subject may sound closer to science-fiction than science, the committee — which contains several Republicans who have at times railed against scientific fact — invited certified experts in the field. Scheduled to testify at the hearing are Dr. Steven Dick, astrobiology chair for the John W. Kruge Center at the Library of Congress; Dr. Sara Seager, a physics and planetary science professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Dr. Mary Voytek, a senior member of NASA’s planetary science division.
Think Progress noted that Smith — who has received $500,000 in campaign donations from the oil and gas industries — is a longtime critic of what he called “the idea of human-made global warming,” arguing on the House floor as far back as 2009 that the press was “heavily slanted in favor of global warming alarmists.”
In November 2013, Smith issued a subpoena against the Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) accusing it of using “secret science” as part of its new set of air quality regulations.
Other Republican members of the committee have called global warming “a total fraud” and questioned EPA head Gina McCarthy during a meeting as to whether she had enrolled in a federal government healthcare exchange.
[Image via Rep. Lamar Smith official Facebook page]