Pruitt personally monitored removal of climate change info from EPA sites: report

Pruitt personally monitored removal of climate change info from EPA sites: report
© Greg Nash

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittGovernment watchdog probing EPA’s handling of Hurricane Harvey response Wheeler won’t stop America’s addiction to fossil fuels Overnight Energy: Trump rolls back methane pollution rule | EPA watchdog to step down | China puts tariffs on US gas MORE last year oversaw a series of efforts to remove references and information regarding climate change from the agency's website, according to a report from The Associated Press. 

Pruitt zeroed in on former President Obama's move to lower carbon emissions from coal-fired power plants, according to the report. 

The AP cites a series of emails from 2017 as evidence of Pruitt's role in the efforts, including an email from EPA’s deputy associate administrator for Public Affairs, John Konkus, to staffers in April. 

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“We need to start building an updated page for the clean power plan ASAP with the goal of having it go live sometime on Monday,” Konkus said. “Is there any way we can get a little time put in on this project over the weekend so that we’re off on the right foot on Monday morning?”

The news organization reports that Konkus's message led to edits to the EPA website, including some directly from Pruitt. 

Data on climate change was removed and the search results for "Clean Power Plan" were removed from the website. 

The changes made to epa.gov illustrated the Trump administration's dramatic departure from Obama-era policies on climate change and renewable energy.

The alterations sparked concern among scientists and academics looking to preserve the findings and information from the previous administration. 

Pruitt had a hand in orchestrating Trump's decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate accord, and the administration has moved to end the Clean Power Plan. 

Since taking over as administrator in February, Pruitt has reshaped the EPA's agenda, with a heavy focus on rolling back initiatives from the Obama administration.

He has also moved to downsize the EPA and has made major changes to the agency's science advisory boards.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) asked Pruitt at a Tuesday hearing whether he recalled the interview, specifically asking about the statement that Trump "would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaMcCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not Time for sunshine on Trump-Russia investigation MORE."
 
"I don’t, senator," Pruitt said at the hearing of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. "And I don’t echo that today at all."
 
Timothy Cama and Miranda Green contributed to this report