April 29, 2017; Slate
Just hours before an estimated hundreds of thousands of people hit the street to call attention to climate change, the Environmental Protection Agency, as threatened early in the administration, finally removed all references to climate change science from its websites, saying the pages involved will be “undergoing changes that reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.”
Scrubbed were pages relating to climate science and the impacts of climate change. An EPA spokesperson said, obscurely, “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
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“There is no way to sugarcoat this, President Trump has taken a wrecking ball to environmental protection in the U.S.,” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union for Concerned Scientists. “Frankly, I didn’t think this would happen with the severity with [which] this is happening. We have had changes in powers before. Different presidents strike a different balance. But this is a severe attack that we didn’t expect.”
And the attack is based in a censoring of information to which the public is entitled.
In the Washington Post, Janet McCabe, who, under Obama headed the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, says that even though it makes sense that a new administration would reflect their own policies on their website, “Historical and factual information about these issues, and regulations over time, is something that EPA has always made available to people,” McCabe said. “It belongs to the people, and people should be able to find it easily.”—Ruth McCambridge