Dozens of online resources to help local governments cope with climate change have been removed from the Environmental Protection Agency's website, the New York Times reports. This comes one week after President Trump put forth a nominee for senior White House environmental adviser who once called global warming a "kind of paganism" for "secular elites."
According to an analysis by the Environmental Data and Governance Institute, an EPA site has been renamed and scrubbed of links to materials that would help local officials deal with rising temperatures and more severe storms. The page, formerly titled "Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments" has been renamed "Energy Resources for State, Local, and Tribal Governments.” Fifteen mentions of the word "climate change" were deleted from the first page alone.
Some of the deleted pages described the risks of climate change, how different localities are working to curb carbon emissions and how states plan to adapt to extreme weather.
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“I think it’s very alarming,” said Adam Parris, head of the Science and Resilience Institute. “These are not the kind of resources that are just basic climate science. These are the kind of resources it has taken years to develop across the federal family.”
An EPA spokesperson told the Times that the deleted material had been archived but was still searchable on the site. They did not say why it had been removed.
Gina McCarthy, administrator of the EPA under President Obama, said the deleted data was collected and shared over a number of years to help local government build resilience to natural disasters. “There is no more significant threat than climate change and it isn’t just happening to people in far-off countries — it’s happening to us,” Ms. McCarthy said. “It is beyond comprehension that EPA would ever purposely limit and remove access to information that communities need to save lives and property. Clearly, this was not a technical glitch, it was a planned shutdown.”
Last week, Trump nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, who previously led the Texas Commision on Environmental Quality, to head the White House Council on Environmental Quality. She is a climate-change skeptic who has called carbon dioxide not a pollutant but "the gas of life on this planet."
Trump's head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, has often expressed anti-scientific views, such as questioning whether human activity is the main contributor to global warming.