Target: Harvey Simon, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator of the EPA’s Office of Environmental Information
Goal: Reinstate climate change information for local governments to the EPA website.
“To reflect the approach of new leadership.” When Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recently defended the decision to remove anti-discrimination language from HUD’s mission statement, his words echoed an equally controversial defense from EPA chief Scott Pruitt. In mid-2017, the agency began quietly removing any references to human-induced climate change from its website. They more recently compounded this highly questionable maneuver by ‘archiving’ subpages and links intended to help local governments prepare for the effects of global warming. The climate change deniers who now run the EPA are denying the public essential facts and information.
In the April 2017 purge, specific sections devoted to climate change topics were taken down, replaced with indefinite messages about website ‘updates.’ Now, countless pages of scientific studies and factual information have been relegated to the EPA archives. An assistant to Pruitt argued for this purge and touted how the EPA wanted to strengthen its partnerships with local agencies, yet just a few short months later vital sources of information and aid were stripped away from these local partners. The most recent omissions include state strategies for emissions control and extreme weather response. In addition, at least 15 references to climate change on the former Climate and Energy Resources(now simply Energy Resources) page were removed.
Suppressing information is a favorite tactic of current officials, if the alleged Centers for Disease Control list of forbidden words –among these “science-based”—is any indication. Recently released documents show that the Trump administration targeted the EPA website as early as its first week in office. EPA administrator Scott Pruitt personally oversaw all material removed from the website, with special focus on Clean Power Plan goals and a climate change page for children with upwards of one million views monthly.
Do not let the EPA strike another blow through its dangerous denial of the environment’s greatest adversary. Demand the EPA website and, more importantly, the agency itself acknowledge the reality of climate change today.
Dear Mr. Simon,
Your website has become a repository of updates and archives. This has allegedly been done to “reflect the priorities of the current administration.” Do not forget that your number one and guiding priority—your allegiance—is found in the very name of your agency: environmental protection.
“I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do….I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” Nearly every reputable scientist in the world would disagree with Administrator Pruitt on this point. The final outcome, however, is not for the Administrator or for any scientist to decide.
The EPA website was designed as a means of connecting the public to this organization. Each individual can draw his or her own conclusion, but this conclusion must come from a well-informed, objective place. Scrubbing evidence that does not fit with one’s personal agenda is doing a disservice to the EPA website’s mission and to the people it serves. More so, failing to connect your local partners with vital information sources that will better equip them to address climate change impacts on their communities is a serious dereliction of duty.
Do the right thing and restore these important aids as well as all climate change information to your website today. Give the people the facts, not “priorities.”
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kentee Gardin