EPA spokesman: No plan to take down climate webpages

EPA spokesman: No plan to take down climate webpages

An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) spokesman said the Trump administration is not currently planning to take down website content regarding climate change.

Doug Ericksen, spokesman for the so-called beachhead team working to transition the agency to the Trump administration, said officials are reviewing all of the “editorial” parts of the EPA’s website for possible changes.

But he pushed back against a Tuesday Reuters report that said the beachhead team had already instructed career officials at the EPA to remove climate change-related content.

“We’re looking at scrubbing it up a bit, putting a little freshener on it, and getting it back up to the public,” said Ericksen, who is currently a Republican state lawmaker in Washington.

“We’re taking a look at everything on there,” he said.

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The news reports come as President Trump orders federal agency to clamp down on public communications, prohibiting agency officials from most external communications, including with reporters and through social media. Agency leaders have also frozen most grant and contract payments, though some communication and payment restrictions are likely to be lifted in the coming days.

Trump came into office last week amid promises to make significant changes at the EPA, including overturning former President Obama’s entire climate change agenda and numerous other major rules, while ceding more power to states for environmental regulation and enforcement. Scott Pruitt, Trump's pick to run the agency, frequently clashed with the EPA as Oklahoma's attorney general.

Ericksen also pushed back against an InsideEPA report Wednesday that said the beachhead officials had canceled plans to take down the climate content while the EPA’s Office of General Counsel reviews whether certain parts can be removed.

The general counsel is simply “looking at any legal constraints regarding places where people do business on the web page,” Ericksen said, adding that certain pages, like ones about obtaining permits, cannot come down.

The climate section of the EPA’s website outlines Obama’s various greenhouse gas regulations and other global warming action he had taken.

It also links to scientific data on climate change, including emissions data the agency gathers and temperature data from other federal agencies.

The pages are saved in multiple locations, such as the Internet Archive.