The Heat Is Online

Oceanographer Accuses Texas officials of Censorship

Scientist: Texas buried work over climate claim

The Associated Press, Oct. 18, 2011

GALVESTON, Texas — A Rice University oceanographer says the state's environmental agency is refusing to publish his research article on a Texas bay unless he agrees to delete key references to rising sea levels and human involvement in climate change.

Professor John Anderson has declined the proposed edits by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, calling the changes to a report on Galveston Bay "censorship" and an attempt to mislead the public.

Consequently, the state agency said it will remove Anderson's article, which deals with long-term sea level rise and mentions manmade climate change, which commissioners have publicly questioned in the past.

Anderson's 22-page article, or chapter, is part of a larger "State of the Bay" report by the Houston Advanced Research Center, which the commission hired to publish the report for the state's Galveston Bay estuary program.

A commission spokeswoman told the Houston Chronicle that the commission disagreed with portions of Anderson's work.

Anderson said his article is based on a 10-year study with other scientists, and he accused the commission of making changes for political reasons.

"To have a state agency come and say, 'That's not keeping up with our philosophy,'" that's just absurd," Anderson said. "That's just non-science."

In Anderson's pulled article, he contends that Galveston Bay water levels are rising partly because of climate change caused by humans.
State officials told the Austin American-Statesman that Anderson's chapter goes "beyond the scope of"

But Jim Lester, one of the report's two editors, and a Houston Advanced Research Center vice president, said "if you delete Anderson's chapter, it would be an incomplete study."

The report is used by residents, policymakers and resource managers on the coast as a summary of the bay's current and future condition, which is why its other editor, scientist Lisa Gonzalez, said it's imperative that Anderson's work be included.

Worried that the deletions would hurt their credibility as scientists, Gonzalez and Lester have told the state commission that they don't want their names on the report if it doesn't include Anderson's complete article.

The first State of the Bay report was published in 2002.

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