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Trump nominates Oklahoma politician and climate skeptic to run NASA

 WP.  September 5 President Trump recently announced his pick for NASA administrator: Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a former pilot whose goals for our solar system include installing humans on the moon and cleaning up space junk. He also has expressed skepticism about human-caused climate change.

NASA has lacked a permanent administrator since January. The previous one, former astronaut and retired Marine Corps aviator Charles Bolden, resigned the day that Trump took office. NASA’s associate administrator, Robert Lightfoot Jr., stepped in as the temporary head of the agency. Lightfoot holds the record for longest tenure as an acting NASA administrator.

The announcement, on Friday evening before Labor Day weekend, came after months of speculation that the 42-year-old representative from Oklahoma would get the nod. Last year, Bridenstine — a strong supporter of Trump during the presidential race — informally told the Trump campaign he was interested in a leadership role at NASA or the Air Force, The Washington Post reported three days after the November election…….

a bigger question is his stance on earth and climate science. From the House floor in 2013, Bridenstine said that “global temperatures stopped rising 10 years ago,” which is incorrect. In a 2016 interview with Aerospace America, he said that the climate “has always changed,” though remained open to “studying it.”……

Before his election to the House of Representatives, Bridenstine served as a Navy pilot and directed the Tulsa Air and Space Museum. He has not worked as a scientist or engineer, though he was involved with a rocket-powered aircraft league. (The Rocket Racing League — think NASCAR, but with rocket planes — failed to hold any races. “It was before its time,” Bridenstine said to Space News in 2013.)

If confirmed, Bridenstine would be the first politician to serve as NASA administrator. He is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, which has frequently come into conflict with Republican leaders. Those opposed to his nomination, particularly Sens. Marco Rubio (R) and Bill Nelson (D) of Florida, have pointed to his political career as a critical flaw.

“It’s the one federal mission which has largely been free of politics and it’s at a critical juncture in its history,” Rubio said to Politico. “I would hate to see an administrator held up — on [grounds of] partisanship, political arguments, past votes, or statements made in the past — because the agency can’t afford it and it can’t afford the controversy.” Likewise, Nelson told Politico in a statement that, “the head of NASA ought to be a space professional, not a politician.”


September 6, 2017 - Posted by | climate change, politics, USA

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