WASHINGTON (January 25, 2017)—Reports that the Trump administration has ordered the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove its web content on climate change, and that scientific work will need to be vetted by political staff before release, are the latest possible signs that the administration could target science and clamp down on public access to information. As of this morning, epa.gov/climatechange was still up, but an administration spokesperson confirmed that EPA scientists must vet their research before sharing it publicly.
Sidelining or suppressing climate science is an abuse of power, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
Below is a statement by Ken Kimmell, president of the Union of Concerned Scientists.
“This is not how a democracy should work.
“Demands to shut down informational websites and prevent the release of scientific findings are straight out of Orwell. We don’t live in a world of ‘alternative facts’ – you can’t delete climate change and you can’t overrule the laws of physics by preventing scientists from talking about them.
“Climate change is real. Its effects are visible today, and its causes are known. Trying to hide that information from the public doesn’t change it—it just makes it harder to work towards solutions, putting communities and generations to come at risk.
“It’s simple: Public servants should be free to state simple scientific facts. Americans have the right to see and benefit from taxpayer-funded research, and scientists have the right to share their findings openly and honestly, without political pressure, manipulation or suppression. Political staff should never be in charge of deciding what scientific conclusions are acceptable for public consumption.
“The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee will likely be voting next week on whether to confirm Scott Pruitt as EPA administrator. They need to get a clear answer whether Pruitt was aware of these actions and approved of them—and whether he’ll actually enforce the EPA’s scientific integrity policy. If Pruitt won’t commit to honestly presenting scientific information and defending the rights of government scientists to do their work unimpeded, that’s all the more reason to vote no on his nomination.
“President Trump and his representatives in the EPA and other agencies are accountable to the public interest, and the scientific community will continue to expose and resist abuses like these.”