Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) this week clashed with President Donald Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency’s air and radiation office after the nominee said that he was “not familiar” with scientific data that suggests the planet is warming.
At a hearing on Wednesday, Merkley held up a chart and asked nominee William Wehrum if he would acknowledge that data from NASA shows a correlation between rising greenhouse gasses and planetary warming.
“I’m not familiar with those data,” Wehrum said, denying the evidence before his eyes. “I have no idea what it depicts.”
“You can see the lines,” Merkley replied. “The lines track each other.”
“I’m just asking you, can you see those two lines?” the senator pressed. “And do they generally track each other?”
After Wehrum again refused to answer the question, Merkley was clearly annoyed.
“What we have seen is just Koch brother-inspired determination not to acknowledge fundamental facts,” he charged. “And continuous excuses that perhaps the temperature of the planet is going up because of solar activity. Oh no, maybe it’s volcanic activity. But when NASA presents the information, it shows there’s no correlation from those factors and extensive correlation from carbon dioxide and other global warming gasses.”
“Individuals like you simply refuse to acknowledge it,” he added. “Why should the American people put into an office of significance someone who refuses to look at the facts directly that are so important to the health of this planet?”
Following the hearing, Merkley expressed his frustration in a single sentence: “You’ve got to be kidding me with this nominee.”
You've got to be kidding me with this nominee. pic.twitter.com/85w8Ru2618
— Senator Jeff Merkley (@SenJeffMerkley) October 4, 2017