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The QueQue

The QueQue: State centers for the disabled: ‘still deplorable’, Bank Transfer Day a boon for RBCU

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Miller said he had sat in on a committee meeting the previous day in which Texas State Climatologist John Nielsen-Gammon said global warming was not a factor in the current drought. The 2011 drought ranks as the worst one-year drought in historic record, and the accompanying heat broke the record books nationally. “The situation we’re in is not a part of global warming,” Miller told the gathering. “They were not able to scientifically tell us it was part of global warming.”

The meeting in which Nielsen-Gammon supposedly made this declaration was one of the state House Natural Resource Committee of which Miller is a member. Asked afterward about his characterization of Nielsen-Gammon’s position on the science, Miller told QueQue that the committee had “not asked many questions,” but that he personally had “written that point down.” Those in the audience who were familiar with Neilson-Gammon murmured the comment was unlikely. And contacted later in the day Neilson-Gammon didn’t remember his presentation quite the same way, either. “Global warming contributed to the high temperatures, especially with this drought. So it enhanced evaporation and decreased water supply and therefore made the drought more intense then it would otherwise have been,” he told the Current Thursday afternoon. “I mentioned global warming was a factor, that future droughts would be more strongly effected by evaporation because of it, but it wasn’t going to be the primary driver on future water stress within the state.”

Miller’s mischaracterization of climate science follows by a few weeks the TCEQ’s editing out references to climate change from scientific research produced for an annual report on the health of Galveston Bay. When asked after his presentation who he relies on for his understanding of climate change, Miller referenced Nielson-Gammon, “and others.” But he added that he doesn’t think his understanding of climate change is relevant to his role as a state legislator. “Maybe if I were a U.S. Senator or something and dealing with national policy. I’m looking at local issues that we can affect now,” he said. The task of Wednesday’s gathering of the Natural Resources Committee was to examine the current drought and how it impacts the state’s water plan and “identify short-term and long-term strategies to help the state better cope with drought and assess any obstacles, including state and federal regulations, to implementation of these strategies.”

Miller is the House Rep from District 73 representing Bandera, Comal, Gillespie, and Kendall Counties. •

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