Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 11 Share on Twitter 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
General News    H4'ed 7/13/17

Trump Gets Challenged on Climate Change Censorship

Author 81000
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Marcia G. Yerman
Become a Fan
  (3 fans)

Climate Change
Climate Change
(Image by keepitsurreal)
  Details   DMCA

President Trump's tweets get plenty of coverage. Yet, there are currently numerous actions by his administration that are designed to restrict the free flow of information from federal agencies. This is particularly significant in the fight against climate change. A combination of disinformation, suppression of facts that should be in the public domain, and the erasure of elements from federal websites are concerning from agencies set up to protect Americans.

In an effort to learn if staff members were told not to use established scientific language via a "gag order," the Center for Biological Diversity filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. They directed their inquiries to the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Department of Energy. The purpose was to get documentation of directives on the type of verbiage workers could or could not use.

Staff was allegedly instructed to either "remove" or "not use" any vocabulary that related to climate change. Examples include, but are not limited to, "greenhouse gas emissions," "global warming," "climate disruption," and "global warming." Ironically, "Paris agreement" was also in the mix.

The agencies were also asked to report if they had destroyed any records.

Almost two months later on May 30, the Center sued the Trump administration in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The reason? There had been no response, thereby "violating deadlines established under the law."

The first point in the legal papers states:

"The Center for Biological Diversity ("Center") -- An environmental conservation organization that works to protect native wildlife species and their habitats -- challenges the failure of the U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Department of Energy, and U.S. Department of State to provide records concerning the Trump administration's censorship of these federal departments' and their component agencies' discussion or dissemination about climate change, in violation of the Freedom of Information Act."

I spoke with Taylor McKinnon, Public Lands Campaigner at the Center. He reiterated reports of EPA workforce harassment, and accounts of web pages taken down. It was apparent that staff and scientists were being intimidated.

"My response," McKinnon said, "was we need to pry the hood off of this." A key goal was to establish where the instructions were coming from.

Some records were delivered to the Center. However, for the bulk of what the Center was seeking -- they were "stonewalled." This is what prompted the lawsuit.

"We're not going to allow the administration to drag its feet," McKinnon emphasized. "We're going to hold them to the letter of the law."

With the belief that what was taking place needed to be "exposed," McKinnon stated, "We think the information will say volumes."

The conversation shifted to the EPA under the direction of Scott Pruitt. McKinnon expressed his concern over "fossil fuel corruption." He underscored, "Pruitt is a catastrophe for America."

The Center is also pushing back to save data. Along with conservation biologist Stuart Pimm and the Center for Media and Democracy, they have combined forces to save scores of environmental "data sets" on government websites, from removal by the administration.

Next Page  1  |  2

 

Must Read 1   Valuable 1  
Rate It | View Ratings

Marcia G. Yerman Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter Page       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Marcia G. Yerman is a writer, activist, and artist based in New York City. Her articles--profiles, interviews, reporting and essays--focus on women's issues, the environment, human rights, the arts and culture. Her writing has been published by (more...)
 

Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Follow Me on Twitter     Writers Guidelines
Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

STAY IN THE KNOW
If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEdNews Newsletter
Name
Email
   (Opens new browser window)
 

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

The Keystone Pipeline Is An Environmental Justice Issue

"ExxonMobil Hates Your Children" and This Ad

"A Woman of Interest": Murder in Arizona

2015 Climate-Change Forecast

"Trumping Democracy" -- New Documentary Traces Trump's Election Win

Dr. Martin Luther King: Healing Words in Troubled Times

To View Comments or Join the Conversation: