It took (almost) 100 days but the Environmental Protection Agency has finally gone ahead and removed references to climate change science from its websites. The EPA issued a statement saying the website will be “undergoing changes that reflect the agency’s new direction under President Donald Trump and Administrator Scott Pruitt.”
Specifically, the pages relating to climate change, climate science, and the impacts of climate change have been removed. Also scrapped was a website that provided information on the Clean Power Plan by the previous administration. That page now redirects to a piece on Trump’s executive order that undid large chunks of his predecessor’s climate agenda. EPA’s spokesman justified the changes by saying that “we want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
Although these changes that were announced late Friday weren’t exactly surprising, the timing was a bit suspect. It came mere hours after thousands of protesters were expected to take to the streets to protest President Donald Trump’s actions to undermine the country’s actions on the climate.
After the changes were announced, David Doniger, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate and clean air program, wrote on Twitter that the “cleansing has begun.”
Cleansing has begun. EPA website scrubbed of pages on "so-called" Clean Power Plan. Now only alternative facts. https://t.co/Zi3EphwU7v— David Doniger (@ddonigernrdc) April 29, 2017
Taking down pages from the EPA’s website is merely the latest example of how Trump has been fulfilling his campaign promise to dismantle the agency and roll back its regulations. CNN explains:
From the start, the White House made efforts to change the EPA's regulatory authority. Through a series of executive orders, some a mere days after Trump took office, the administration made clear its intention to support what it views as economic growth over environmental protections—a maneuver it routinely calls cutting red tape.
“There is no way to sugarcoat this, President Trump has taken a wrecking ball to environmental protection in the US,” said Ken Kimmell, president of the Union for Concerned Scientists. “Frankly I didn't think this would happen with the severity with 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.”
Carol Browner, who served as EPA administrator from 1993 to 2001 says that while there was once a bipartisan agreement that protecting the environment was important, “those days may be over.” She explains:
Shockingly in the president's first 100 days, the administration is working to take America backwards.
How? They are using federal budget cuts, executive orders and the courts to undermine the EPA's authority to enforce health and environmental protections; to gut the Clean Air Act, the landmark public health and environmental protection law which has led to drastic reductions in toxic pollutants, and protected Americans for more than four decades.
President Donald Trump has proposed slashing EPA's funding to a 40-year low and cutting 20 percent of its staff, cuts that will significantly curtail EPA's ability to enforce the country's environmental laws. Even some Republicans are alarmed.