The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee (EPW) is scheduled to hold a hearing on Thursday entitled “Climate Change: It’s Happening Now.” The hearing will be the first significant congressional climate change meeting since President Obama announced his National Climate Action Plan last month.

The hearing will consist of testimony from outside science experts, but no government witnesses, despite urging from GOP committee members to include Obama administration witnesses. On Thursday, EPW Chairwoman, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), told reporters that the hearing will focus on science and not politics.

“I’m trying to keep politics out of this first hearing, and trying to focus in on non-political people who are scientists to give us an update on the science, but we will look at political people in the next round,” Boxer said.

Her statement came after Republican committee members, led by Ranking Member, Senator David Vitter (R-LA), sent a letter to Chairwoman Boxer requesting that Obama administration officials be included as witnesses in the hearing.

Vitter and other Republicans wrote a letter to Boxer last Wednesday accusing the president of attempting to keep the American people “in the dark” about his climate change proposals, despite the fact that he gave a detailed account of his plans during a speech last month.

The Republicans’ letter suggests that the administration is trying to hide a secret agenda within its climate action plan, saying “the actions this Administration is taking under the guise of controlling our climate… have the potential to negatively impact employment, job creation, and our national debt.”

The letter then calls for Obama and his administration to “be ready to defend those actions before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee.”

The letter was also signed by Senators James Inhofe (R-OK), a notorious climate change denier, John Barrasso (R-WY), Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Roger Wicker (R-MS), John Boozman (R-AR), and Deb Fischer (R-NE).

“I am trying to just focus on the science,” Boxer told The Hill. “And obviously [Vitter] probably wants to bring politics into it, and he can do that, but this hearing is more on the science.”

Alisha is a writer and researcher for Ring of Fire. 

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