The National Science Foundation spent $700,000 on a climate change musical, one of many taxpayer-funded projects that House Republicans are finding questionable.
In a hearing Thursday, House Science Committee Chairman Lamar Smith asked White House science adviser John Holdren if the National Science Foundation should be subject to greater accountability in the projects it chooses to fund in light of some questionable examples that Smith detailed, The Daily Caller
"All government employees and their agency heads need to remember they are accountable to the American taxpayer who pays their salary and funds their projects," Smith said. "It's not the government's money; it's the people's money."
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Besides "The Great Immensity," the climate change musical, the NSF also spent $15,000 to study fishing practices around Lake Victoria in Africa; $340,000 to examine the "ecological consequences" of early human fires in New Zealand; $200,000 on a three-year study of the Bronze Age around the Mediterranean; $50,000 to study archived Peruvian lawsuits from the 17th century; and $20,000 on understanding the causes of stress in Bolivia.
The musical is set to open on April 11 in New York City.
"'The Great Immensity'" is a highly theatrical look into one of the most vital questions of our time: How can we change ourselves and our society in time to solve the enormous environmental challenges that confront us?" according to the play's description.
Smith also questioned President Barack Obama's science budget overall, saying that it focuses too much "on alarmist predictions of climate change."
"For example, the administration tried to link hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and droughts to climate change," the Texas Republican said. "Yet even the administration's own scientists contradicted the president."
Smith charges that the Obama administration has used such questionable data to push expensive regulations through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
"When the committee asked the EPA for the scientific data being used to justify some of the costliest regulations in history, their response was that they didn't have it, even though they were using it," Smith said.
Holdren defended the White House, saying that Obama wants the United States to remain a leader in science innovation.
"The Obama administration recognizes that leadership across the frontiers of scientific knowledge is not merely a cultural tradition of our nation — it is an economic, environmental, and national security imperative," he said.
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