Groundhog Punxsutawney Phil Recruited to Defend $100,000 in 'Pork' Funding

Pennsylvania’s number-one four-legged weather prognosticator — Punxsutawney Phil — will make a Capitol Hill appearance on December 7, to “defend” a $100,000 grant for the Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center. The furry weatherman will also “explain the difference between ‘pork’ and legitimate federal earmarks,” according to one congressman’s office.

The famous groundhog is coming to Washington, D.C., at the request of Rep. John Peterson (R.-Pa.) in order to rebut charges by the Citizens Against Government Waste, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Rep. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.), and others that the grant is one of the top “pork” projects in the 2005 Omnibus Appropriations Bill.

According to a press release sent out today by Rep. Peterson’s office “Punxsutawney Phil has woken up early from ‘hibernation’ and will travel to the nation’s Capitol on Tuesday to defend the Weather Discovery Center.”

Appearing with the Pennsylvanian marmot at the press conference “to defend a $100,000 grant which Peterson secured for the Discovery Center and to demonstrate the difference between ‘pork-barrel’ spending and legitimate federal earmarks” will be Rep. Peterson, Barry Myers, the founder and CEO of AccuWeather, and Punxsutawney Weather Discovery Center administrators.

In the press release lauding the Capitol Hill visit by Punxsutawney Phil, Rep. Peterson asserted that the Center “is a unique museum that presents the history, science, technology and folklore of weather in an interactive setting that is not only educational for young people, but fun for the whole family” and that calling the $100K grant “‘pork’ without knowing anything about the project only serves to undermine the credibility of otherwise reputable organizations.”

The press conference will occur Tuesday, December 7, at 2:00 p.m., at the Cannon Terrace at the Cannon House Office Building.

The staff contact for Rep. Peterson is Paul Feenstra, 202-226-8279.

Full Text of Rep. Peterson’s Press Release