The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Four months after Donald Trump took office, the agency replaced its "climate change" page with an update message saying the site was being changed to "reflect the agency's new direction under President Donald Trump." But now even the promise of an update is gone, a new report from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) discovered Thursday.
Instead, if you type epa.gov/climatechange into your web browser, you get a rather ironic error message reading, "We want to hep you find what you are looking for."
A screenshot of the current EPA climate change page.EPA
"It's an embarrassment. It is a ghost page," Obama-era EPA Regional Administrator Judith Enck told The Guardian. "It's a bit like Amazon not allowing the public to order books via its website – it's that fundamental. There's no other issue at the EPA more important than climate change; it affects air, water, health and whether large parts of the world will survive."
The EDGI report said that the changes occurred between 5:12 p.m. Oct. 16 and 3:04 a.m. Oct. 17. In addition to changing the main text of the page, the website also replaced a link to a snapshot of the EPA's Obama-era climate change page with a snapshot of the EPA's Obama-era main page and deleted a link to a press release explaining the changes. In September, the EPA also removed a link on the page to the EPA's searchable archive and technical support request form.
"The cumulative effect of removing these links from the splash page is the substantial reduction of access to EPA's historical public information about climate change," the EDGI report said.
A screenshot of the EPA climate change page before (left and after (right) the most recent changesEDGI
The website changes are in keeping with a Trump administration tradition of scrubbing climate information from government websites.
Motherboard offered a brief history:
This is far from the first time that the Trump administration has removed information relating to climate change and environmental hazards. Shortly after Trump's inauguration in January 2017, all references to climate change were removed from the White House website. In April of that year, the Department of the Interior all references to climate change from its public-facing website. The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not even mention climate change in its five year plan released earlier this year.
Former EPA administrator Scott Pruitt was famously hostile to climate science and wanted to stage a televised debate on the topic. One anonymous EPA official speculated to The Guardian that the changes might reflect the priorities of his replacement, former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler.
"Wheeler has been somewhat meticulously going through the mess Pruitt left behind and I think is finally getting to the place of making some decisions on stuff," the official said. "I've been surprised that we are still even talking about climate change and that there are still people nominally assigned to that beat in the air office."
Wheeler has continued with Pruitt's efforts to deregulate everything from power plant emissions to fuel efficiency standards and has said that "federal regulations are not necessary to drive greenhouse gas reductions," The Guardian reported.
Correction: This post has been updated to provide greater clarity regarding the nature of changes to the EPA's climate change webpage.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
‘Companies Should Not Be Allowed to Use Hazardous Ingredients in Products People Use’: Michelle Pfeiffer Speaks Up for Safer Cosmetics
The beauty products we put on our skin can have important consequences for our health. Just this March, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned that some Claire's cosmetics had tested positive for asbestos. But the FDA could only issue a warning, not a recall, because current law does not empower the agency to do so.
Michelle Pfeiffer wants to change that.
The actress and Environmental Working Group (EWG) board member was spotted on Capitol Hill Thursday lobbying lawmakers on behalf of a bill that would increase oversight of the cosmetics industry, The Washington Post reported.
By Julia Conley
Scientists at the United Nations' intergovernmental body focusing on biodiversity sounded alarms earlier this month with its report on the looming potential extinction of one million species — but few heard their calls, according to a German newspaper report.
The climate crisis is a major concern for American voters with nearly 40 percent reporting the issue will help determine how they cast their ballots in the upcoming 2020 presidential election, according to a report compiled by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Of more than 1,000 registered voters surveyed on global warming, climate and energy policies, as well as personal and collective action, 38 percent said that a candidate's position on climate change is "very important" when it comes to determining who will win their vote. Overall, democratic candidates are under more pressure to provide green solutions as part of their campaign promises with 64 percent of Democrat voters saying they prioritize the issue compared with just 34 percent of Independents and 12 percent of Republicans.
President Donald Trump has agreed to sign a $19.1 billion disaster relief bill that will help Americans still recovering from the flooding, hurricanes and wildfires that have devastated parts of the country in the past two years. Senate Republicans said they struck a deal with the president to approve the measure, despite the fact that it did not include the funding he wanted for the U.S.-Mexican border, CNN reported.
"The U.S. Senate has just approved a 19 Billion Dollar Disaster Relief Bill, with my total approval. Great!" the president tweeted Thursday.