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House oversight panel demands NOAA travel costs answers, again

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Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, has refused for months to give a House oversight and investigations subcommittee information it wants about how much she and her senior NOAA colleagues spend each year on travel expenses.

Rep. Paul Broun said in a letter made public today that Lubchenco's ignoring of a congressional request "mocks the notion of transparency." Broun, a Georgia Republican, is chairman of the oversight subcommittee of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.

"As NOAA continues to eschew its obligation to comply with requirements for compliance with congressional oversight requests, the committee's concerns are only heightened and I must ask myself, what is NOAA trying to hide?" Bround said.

Broun's panel first sought information on travel expenses incurred by senior NOAA managers in an April letter. That request was repeated in October after multiple inquiries from congressional staffers failed to obtain results, he said.

Broun said he was not seeking to curb legitimate travel required to encourage the free exchange of scientific ideas and opinion, but "rather the misuse of travel by senior leadership." Such misuse "comes at the expense of justified and necessary scientific exchanges," he said.

A NOAA spokesman told the Examiner that the agency will respond to Broun "soon." Go here for the text of Broun's letter.

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