The evening before thousands are expected to gather to participate in the People’s Climate March, the Environmental Protection Agency has deleted climate data and other scientific information from its website, according to the Washington Post.
On Friday evening, the EPA, which announced it was making changes to its website to “reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump,” delated information on the Barack Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan—which, according to the Post, included “fact sheets about greenhouse gas emissions on the state and local levels and how different demographic groups were affected by such emissions.”
EPA chief Scott Pruitt reportedly approved the changes to the site, because it didn’t reflect the current thinking of the Trump administration. Pruitt himself reportedly was reviewing the site to see what information clashed with Trump’s opinion.
“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,” J.P. Freire, the EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs, said in a statement. “We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
As the EPA stated in its release, the first page that was updated was Trump’s Executive Order that called for a review of the Clean Power Plan, which the agency called “out of date.”
“Similarly,” the EPA said, “content related to climate and regulation is also being reviewed.”
The agency also said, however, it was archiving the information it was removing and that a screenshot from the Obama administration’s site would remain on the main page of EPA.gov. Activists had reportedly begun scraping the previous website to preserve the information they feared the Trump administration would remove.
This was the response from the director of the National Resource Defense Council’s climate and clean air program.
Cleansing has begun. EPA website scrubbed of pages on "so-called" Clean Power Plan. Now only alternative facts. https://t.co/Zi3EphwU7v
— David Doniger (@DavidDoniger) April 29, 2017
As the Post noted, one web page that explained climate change and how it worked and that had been in existence for nearly two decades had been scrubbed. The changes to the site apparently surprised some EPA employees.
“People are obviously unhappy,” one employee told the Post. “It is, in my opinion, the best climate education website out there.”