Climate Change Skeptic Lamar Smith Leads A Scientific Trip To The Arctic

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 18, 2017 12:42 pm|

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

It’s no secret that U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas questions and criticizes mainstream research on climate change.

Here’s Smith, who chairs the House Science Committee, making opening remarks at a hearing on climate science earlier this year:

“I believe the climate is changing and that humans play a role. However, I also believe significant questions remain to the extent.”

So BuzzFeed News Reporter Zahra Hirji was surprised when she got a tip that Smith quietly led a trip to the Arctic in May.

“It started with a shot in the dark of reaching out to as many lawmakers and as many scientists as possible – anyone I could think of really – to see if anyone had heard of the trip or knew and would be willing to share details with me,” she says.

After some digging, Hirji found Smith led about eight other U.S. representatives to meet with federally-funded scientists working in Alaska and Greenland.

The National Science Foundation set the itinerary for the congressional delegation.

“And this wasn’t just exclusively on climate science but a lot of it was,”Hirji says.

Hirji says some of the researchers she spoke to were encouraged by their conversations with Rep. Smith.

They told her, “The congressman seemed very engaged and asked questions,” she says.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean Smith will shift gears when it comes to climate change.

Since the trip, Smith has supported President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Smith’s House Committee on Science, Space and Technology gave the following statement to the Texas Standard:

“Chairman Smith invited Republicans and Democrats to travel to the Arctic to conduct oversight and to support agencies within the committee’s jurisdiction.  The Chairman is grateful for the gracious hosts, and was pleased with the interest from members who participated.”



The former Balch Springs police officer who shot into a moving car, killing 15-year-old Jordan Edwards, has been charged with murder.

Roy Oliver also faces four charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public official.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson announced the indictment Monday.

“I have a personal guarantee to Jordan, his family, this community, that we will prosecute this case vigorously,” she says.

Oliver was fired in May after police officials reviewed body camera footage of the incident, which showed the car was moving away from Oliver.



The NBA’s Houston Rockets are for sale.

Leslie Alexander bought the Rockets for $85 million in 1993.

That’s a real bargain compared to their current estimated value of $1.6 billion.

Rockets CEO Tad Brown talked about Alexander’s surprising decision at a press conference.

“I do think it’s a grind and he’s tired but he’s healthy. He looks great, he’s fit. But it’s been a long time, 24 years,” he says.

Brown wouldn’t say if they are already in talks with any potential buyers, but says there have always been many that are interested.