Group details 'systematic' removal of climate content from federal websites

Group details 'systematic' removal of climate content from federal websites
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The Trump administration has undertaken a “systematic reduction” in presenting information and content about climate change on federal government websites, a new report concludes.

The Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) has been tracking changes across tens of thousands of government websites since President TrumpDonald John TrumpO'Rourke: Trump driving global, U.S. economy into recession Manchin: Trump has 'golden opportunity' on gun reforms Objections to Trump's new immigration rule wildly exaggerated MORE’s inauguration nearly a year ago, and rolled out a one-year report Wednesday on its findings.

“Our examination of changes across many federal agencies over the first year of the Trump administration demonstrates a systematic reduction in access to climate information and content,” the group said in its report.

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“Links have been cut from pages or rendered useless, language has been changed to alter emphasis and drop mentions of climate-change-related topics, and entire climate websites have been removed and made significantly less accessible.”

The changes have usually reflected different priorities by the administration and political officials. EDGI pointed out that no climate-related data has actually been removed, and the changes have been mostly editorial in nature.

Some of the most visible changes have included multiple agencies removing sections on international climate cooperation, the Bureau of Land Management removing a page on how it deals with climate change and the Environmental Protection Agency taking down an entire website section on climate change, some of which it has started to replace.

EDGI warned changes to the content, even if they are just editorial in nature, can hide important information from the public and from people who need it.

“These changes have made it harder for the public to gain access to years of well-researched and organized information paid for by their tax dollars, information that is crucial in helping inform the important discussions on how to best mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change,” the group concluded.

The changes have not always been politically motivated. For example, the National Park Service recently removed numerous reports on how individual parks deal with climate change, but the agency said it was merely working to make them accessible to people with disabilities.