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Trump officials reviewing EPA website, may not scrub all climate data

Trump officials are going through the EPA "case-by-case" to determine what reflects the views of the new Trump administration, and are requiring all research be reviewed before it is published or discussed with journalists.

By Stephen Feller
Trump officials reviewing EPA website, may not scrub all climate data
The Trump administration is conducting a case-by-case review of information on the Environmental Protection Agency's website and all new research being conducted, however the person in charge of transitioning the agency to "reflect" the new president's priorities said Wednesday there were no plans to delete all climate change information as reported earlier this week by the media. President Donald Trump, seen after signing a series of executive orders in the Oval Office at the White House on January 24, 2017, has previously called climate change a "hoax" and pledged to pull back on climate-related efforts by the United States government. Pool photo by Shawn Thew/UPI | License Photo

Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Climate change information may not be removed from the Environmental Protection Agency's website, Trump administration officials said on Wednesday, countering reports that the information would be scrubbed from the sites of that agency and potentially others during the coming weeks.

Officials in charge of Trump's transition at the EPA said Wednesday that a review of all "editorial" content on the agency's website is underway but that no blanket decisions had been made about removing anything, including references to climate change.

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"We're looking at scrubbing it up a bit, putting a little freshener on it, and getting it back up to the public," Doug Ericksen, a spokesperson for the team transitioning the EPA for Trump's administration, told The Hill. "We're taking a look at everything on there."

Concerns were raised Tuesday about a total blackout on communication through public channels such as websites and Twitter,and with the media at the EPA, in addition to the departments of Commerce, Interior and Agriculture, however the White House said they had issued no such instructions to the agencies.

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While references to climate change have already been removed from the White House website, Erickson said there has been no blanket determination about information on the EPA website.

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The agency is going "case by case" through scientists work and other information available from the EPA to make sure "that the voice coming from the EPA is one that's going to reflect the new administration," Erickson told NPR.

Scientists' work is also undergoing review before it is permitted to be published in academic journals or discussed publicly for the same reason, Erickson said, but added that the review process being used right now may not become permanent.

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The EPA, like the departments of the Interior and Agriculture, was instructed to stop tweeting, publishing press releases and talking to the news media, which Erickson said was not uncommon during presidential transitions.

Early reporting cited anger from the White House over tweets and statements about the size of the crowd at the inauguration and climate change, which led to the White House telling agencies within the departments to halt their public communications. Wednesday, White House spokesman Sean Spicer denied the allegation.

"There's nothing that has come from the White House. Absolutely not," White House press secretary Sean Spicer said during his briefing. "There are a couple of these agencies that have had problems adhering to their own policies. [But] they haven't been directed by us to do anything."

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The EPA is altering its public relations strategy, officials said, but expects to resume normal operations soon, while the Department of the Interior stopped tweeting after the Inauguration and has since resumed.

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