Iowa Rep. Steve King’s claims on water quality get SciChecked – @factcheckdotorg

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SciCheck spills the scientific T on water quality data – and schools Rep. Steve King on his recent claims (including the snarky, but hilarious point that ‘bison’ is more scientifically accurate than ‘buffalo’).

During a recent congressional hearing, Rep. Steve King of Iowa underestimated what scientists know about the relationship between farming practices and water quality.

  • King said scientists don’t know about the quality of water in the U.S. “when the buffalo roamed” because there were “no water quality tests then.” Pre-1900 water quality data is relatively scarce, but experts can use techniques from paleolimnology to evaluate past water quality.
  • He implied that this lack of “baseline” data prevents scientists from knowing whether applications of crop fertilizer are “too much.” But experts say they don’t need 19th century data to know fertilizers have negatively impacted water quality. The 20th century provides plenty of evidence.

To start, the term “bison” is scientifically more accurate than “buffalo” when referring to North American populations.

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Claims about the water in Flint, MI get SCICHECKED! #science

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Scicheck finds many false claims about the water in Flint Michigan. Check the article – highlights below:

A Michigan health official told Congress that his department’s “initial analysis” showed blood lead levels in Flint children in the summer of 2014 were “within range of years before.” That’s false. That analysis concluded blood lead levels “were higher than usual” from July to September 2014, shortly after the city switched its water supply.

On April 25, 2014, the city of Flint began using the Flint River as its water source, as reported in the Detroit Free Press. But the Flint River has particularly corrosive water, which led to high levels of lead leaching into the water from many of the city’s dated pipes. Soon after the water supply switch, Flint residents began complaining about the color of the water, rashes and other issues.

Then, in July 2015 the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality told Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder that issues with water contamination in Flint were limited to one house and not widespread. At the same time, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services claimed the elevated blood lead levels in children followed a normal seasonal trend.

The link between Flint’s water switch and elevated blood lead levels in children wasn’t confirmed until two independent researchers, Marc Edwards and Mona Hanna-Attisha, each put forth their own analyses in September 2015.

Anti-#Science Quotable: Senator James Inhofe on bees

scichecksquare_4-e1430162915812Senator James Inhofe has made some scientifically errant comments about bees and pesticides recently and so this week he was SCICHECKED!! Check the full page for lots of information about the science of bees and pesticides that is backed by actual studies!!

Sen. James Inhofe made misleading claims in a letter to the Environmental Protection Agency about the relationship between neonicotinoid pesticides and bees:

  • Inhofe said many scientists have concluded “that neonicotinoid pesticides only harm bees at dosages that are unrealistically high.” Actually, studies have shown that field-realistic doses of neonics can harm individual bees by inhibiting their immune system and navigation skills, among other effects.

  • Inhofe said there is consensus “that multiple factors are related to honey bee losses.” That’s true, but Inhofe ignored that researchers stress interactions among factors, e.g. neonics can lower a bee’s immune system, making it more susceptible to viruses, which can then cause death.

This is not the first time Senator James Inhofe has been way off the mark about something scientific. In fact, he seems to be a repeat offender when it comes to being anti-science or pro-psuedoscience.

@LamarSmithTX21 wrong on climate change… AGAIN. #tired @HouseScience @factcheckdotorg

scichecksquare_4-e1430162915812Representative Lamar Smith heads the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology –  and is essentially as anti-science as you can get when it comes to climate change (see our many posts about Smith here). This week FactCheck.org gives Lamar Smith the SCICHECK – and no one should be surprised by the results.

Rep. Lamar Smith at a recent hearing claimed a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change “confirms the halt in global warming.” It doesn’t. In fact, the authors of the paper write, “We do not believe that warming has ceased.”

At the March 16 House hearing, Smith also continued to criticize the Science paper. He said the paper was “prematurely published,” but the editor-in-chief of Science told us Smith’s claim is “baseless and without merit.” Smith also said that the NOAA researchers used “controversial methods” in their study, but the authors of the Nature paper cited by Smith said this wasn’t the case. In fact, they cite the Science paper as having “high scientific value.”

Overall, each study asked different scientific questions, the answers to which can both remain valid and correct, according to the Nature authors themselves.

The SCICHECK also goes on to remind us of the many other times Lamar Smith was way off base when it came to climate science… a trend even an untrained scientist like Smith should be able to recognize.

This is not the first time Smith, a Republican from Texas, has made false statements about climate science and the so-called “Karl study,” named after Thomas R. Karl, director of NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information and the Science paper’s lead author.

As we’ve written before, Smith claimed in October 2015 that “climate data has clearly showed no warming for the past two decades” and that NOAA scientists “altered the data” to get the results they presented in the Science study.

Check the whole article for the latest SCICHECK of Lamar Smith!!!

Representative Lamar Smith gets SCICHECKED on climate change – @factcheckdotorg #science

SciCheck (part of FactCheck.org) has fact-checked a recent Wall Street Journal editorial by Representative Lamar Smith, one of CauseScience’s favorite anti-science congress members.

The short version of highlights below – Read the SciCheck article here for a breakdown and the scientific evidence debunking Smith’s claims.

  • Smith wrote that a connection between worsening storms and climate change has been “widely debunked,” and that the United Nations doesn’t believe that warming is related to “more severe weather disasters.” Both claims are incorrect. There is some evidence linking climate change to worsening hurricanes, droughts and other disasters.
  • He mentioned an oft-repeated claim that there has been a “lack of global warming over the past 15 years.” Though the rate of warming has slowed, the world does indeed continue to warm, and cherry-picked data underlie the claims that warming has stopped.
  • Smith quoted an InterAcademy Council report as saying the U.N.’s climate reports had “significant shortcomings in each major step” of the U.N.’s assessment process. That’s misleading. The report found that though there is certainly room for improvement, the U.N.’s process has been “successful overall.”

The Science version of FactCheck!

From the people who brought you FactCheck (you know, for when you want to double check the validity of what politicians are saying), they now bring you SciCheck:

FactCheck.org’s SciCheck feature focuses exclusively on false and misleading scientific claims that are made by partisans to influence public policy. It was launched in January 2015 with a grant from the Stanton Foundation. The foundation was founded by the late Frank Stanton, president of CBS for 25 years, from 1946 to 1971. 

Check it out!

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