Trump's chief strategist ran Biosphere

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Steve Bannon during an interview in the mid-90s. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 ) Steve Bannon during an interview in the mid-90s. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5 )
ORACLE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Two decades before President Donald Trump chose him to serve as the White House chief political strategist, Steve Bannon was toiling away in the desert north of Tucson, working on climate science in a $200 million greenhouse.

Bannon was a consultant and, later, the CEO of Space Biosphere Ventures, which owned and operated Biosphere 2 during the 1990s. The research facility was originally intended to house a team of eight scientists, known as Biospherians, and to keep them sealed inside the closed environment for years at a time.

It was an unlikely role for the now notorious anti-establishment conservative. But at the time, he said his job was to facilitate the study of climate science.

"It's the world's top scientists asking the toughest questions about the scientific questions about the environment with total access," said Bannon in 1994.

In 1995, C-SPAN interviewed Bannon about what the scientists were learning.

"This actually allows them to study and monitor the impact of enhanced CO2 and other greenhouse gasses on humans, plants and animals," said Bannon.

20 years later, Bannon is known as a climate change skeptic.

One thing that has not changed about him is his gruff demeanor. Bannon was named in a lawsuit against Space Biosphere Ventures, filed in 1995. It accused him of harassing employees, among other claims. The company ended up paying $600,000 to the plaintiffs.

Copyright 2017 KPHO (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Morgan  LoewMorgan Loew is an investigative reporter at CBS 5 News. His career has taken him to every corner of the state, lots of corners in the United States, and some far-flung corners of the globe.

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Morgan Loew
CBS 5 Investigates

Morgan’s past assignments include covering the invasion of Iraq, human smuggling in Mexico, vigilantes on the border and Sheriff Arpaio in Maricopa County. His reports have appeared or been featured on CBS News, CNN, NBC News, MSNBC and NPR.

Morgan’s peers have recognized his work with 11 Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards , two regional Edward R. Murrow Awards for investigative reporting, an SPJ First Amendment Award and a commendation from the Humane Society of the United States. Last fall, Morgan was inducted into the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, in recognition of 25 years of contribution to the television industry in Arizona.

Morgan is a graduate of the University of Arizona journalism school and Concord Law School. He is the president of the Arizona First Amendment Coalition and teaches media law and TV news reporting at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

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