Eight hundred scientists and professors have signed a letter to Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, urging him to call off his investigation of a former University of Virginia climate scientist.
“The request is unfounded and could undermine the effectiveness of not only climate scientists but also thousands of other Virginia researchers,” says the letter, which was organized by the environmental group the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The conservative Cuccinelli recently subpoenaed the university for documents relating to the government-funded climate science research of Michael Mann, who left UVA in 2005 and now teaches at Penn State. Mann was one of several scientists whose emails were released as part of last year’s Climate-Gate controversy. Cuccinelli has said he’s concerned that Mann may have committed fraud by deliberately skewing his findings — though Mann has already been cleared of wrong-doing by several investigations. Even some climate skeptics have denounced Cuccinelli’s probe as a “witch hunt.”
The letter also suggests that the investigation constitutes “unwarranted legal intimidation,” calling it “burdensome and entirely unwarranted.”
According to UCS, 296 of the signers come from UVA, 85 from George Mason University, and 68 from Virginia Tech.
UVA’s administration has said it is still weighing whether to challenge Cuccinelli’s subpoena.