EPA website removes climate science site

The Environmental Protection Agency headquarters. (Photo by Matt McClain/ The Washington Post)

Chris Mooney gives us a heads in a recent Washington Post article that the EPA, under the leadership of climate-denying Pruitt, has now started to purge Climate Science from public view …

The Environmental Protection Agency announced Friday evening that its website would be “undergoing changes” to better represent the new direction the agency is taking, triggering the removal of several agency websites containing detailed climate data and scientific information.

One of the websites that appeared to be gone had been cited to challenge statements made by the EPA’s new administrator, Scott Pruitt. Another provided detailed information on the previous administration’s Clean Power Plan, including fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions.

The changes came less than 24 hours before thousands of protesters were set to march in Washington and around the country in support of political action to push back against the Trump administration’s rollbacks of former president Barack Obama’s climate policies.

Missing Information

The specific link that was once there is this one: https://epa.gov/climatechange, and that link now redirects you to their standard 404 (not found) page here: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/signpost/cc.html

For reference, here is a link to an EPA archive of that page, and so you can see what has been obliterated from public view: https://19january2017snapshot.epa.gov/climatechange_.html

That is not the full story, because this, www.epa.gov/cleanpowerplan, now redirects to this https://www.epa.gov/Energy-Independence, where we find a picture of President Trump signing an executive order aimed at dismantling the power plant rule along with various claims about “protecting jobs”.

Not all is lost … yet … this is still up: https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators

What purpose did the Climate Change section serve?

Some quite rightly praised it for what it was …

“People are obviously unhappy, It is, in my opinion, the best climate education website out there.” – EPA employee who does not wish to be named.

As outlined by Chris ….

The site has long served an informational role and sought to provide a comprehensive review of basic climate science, the effects of climate change, and how it is affecting the United States. In addition it contained information about the agency’s approach to climate change and how people could take steps to lower their own contributions to climate change.

Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, reacts to the removal as follows …

The EPA’s climate site includes important summaries of climate science and indicators that clearly and unmistakably explain and document the impacts we are having on our planet, It’s hard to understand why facts require revision,

The Official EPA Press Statement

The announcement to the press that Chris refers to is this one.

EPA.gov, the website for the United States Environmental Protection Agency, is undergoing changes that reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.

There you will also find this gem of a quote that attempts to justify this as follows …

“As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land, and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” said J.P. Freire, Associate Administrator for Public Affairs. “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”

Permit me to translate that for you.

 – “As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land, and water” = We don’t do clean air, land or water anymore, so prepare to start choking on fumes.

 – “our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency” = Fuck all those evidence based science facts, we don’t do any of that now either.

 – “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language” = Our dictionary has been updated to advise staff that the phrase “climate change” is now a swear word and using it will be a career decision.

  • discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health” = Flint in Michigan will be our new gold standard.

Claims vs reality

The essence of the EPA PR is that they are simply word crafting, or to use their term “updating language”. The rather obvious observation is that this claim is a lie. It actually manifests as follows ..

the website overhaul appears to include not only policy-related changes but also scrutiny of a scientific Web page that has existed for nearly two decades, and that explained what climate change is and how it worked.




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