Academics freak out after Trump’s EPA deletes Obama-era buzzwords from website

By Chris White, DCNF DCNF

The EPA deleted several mentions of “climate change” from a website created to help the trucking industry fight global warming, according to a report Friday from a watchdog group.

EPA’s SmartWay website dropped the terms “climate change” and “greenhouse gas emissions” from a paragraph describing the environmental effects of freight transport. The changes took place between April 5 and May 30, academics with the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative (EDGI) reported.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The agency wiped out one section in the program noting that, “The science is clear — greenhouse gas emissions from all sources must decrease.” SmartWay was constructed in 2004 to help transporting businesses limit their impact on the environment.

During the first few months of the Trump administration, people who visited the website were told: “many companies monitor their carbon emissions and establish inventories or overall ‘carbon footprint’ to help decision makers identify the best strategies for reducing climate impacts.”

EPA officials announced in April that the agency would overhaul content on the website that included a review of “content related to climate and regulation.”

“We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law,” EPA’s associate administrator for public affairs, J.P. Freire, said in a statement at the time of the announcement.

Activists and academics with EDGI are making it their mission to root out examples where the agency deletes or alters climate change buzzwords from EPA’s website. The group characterized in August the agency’s decision to scrape the term climate “change” from its website as a type of “cleansing.”

The National Institute of Environmental Health Science changed a headline on its website at the time from “Climate Change and Human Health,” to “Climate and Human Health,” the group reported. NIH’s website contained other minor changes.

It replaced a menu tittle that read “Climate Change and Children’s Health” to “Climate and Children’s Health.” Activists with the group believe the alterations are akin to a type of whitewashing of climate science.

President Donald Trump and EPA head Scott Pruitt are antagonistic toward the idea of using the agency to target eliminating carbon emissions many scientists believe cause global warming. Both Trump and Pruitt are skeptical about the risk climate change poses to humanity, and they are reorganizing the EPA to deal with local environmental issues.

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