National Park Service officials delete references to humans' role in causing climate change from drafts of new report

National Park Service officials delete references to humans' role in causing climate change from drafts of new report
© Greg Nash

Drafts of a federal report on sea level rise and storm surge reportedly no longer include any mentions of humans' role in climate change.

Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting found that National Park Service officials had scrubbed the mentions from drafts of the report.

The report was drafted initially during the summer of 2016 as part of an effort by the National Park Service to tell the public and officials how to protect park resources.

According to Reveal, mentions of "human activities" causing climate change were deleted from the report, as was the word "anthropogenic," used to describe the impact humans have on nature.

Jonathan Overpeck — a climate scientist and dean of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability — called the changes “shocking from a scientific point of view, but also from a policy point of view.”

“To remove a very critical part of the scientific understanding is nothing short of political censorship and has no place in science,” he said.

“Censorship of this kind is something you’d see in Russia or some totalitarian regime. It has no place in America.”

Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Gillibrand offers bill to ban pesticide from school lunches | Interior secretary met tribal lawyer tied to Zinke casino dispute | Critics say EPA rule could reintroduce asbestos use Interior secretary met with tribal lawyer attached to Zinke casino dispute Zinke joins board of small gold mining company MORE testified last month before the Senate that the department had not altered any scientific documents.

A report last month said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sent staffers climate change talking points, encouraging staffers to highlight a lack of evidence that ties humans to climate change.

Under Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittOvernight Energy: Flint residents can sue EPA over water crisis | Environmentalists see victory with Green New Deal blitz | March global temperatures were second hottest on record | EPA told to make final decision on controversial pesticide Court orders EPA to make final decision on banning controversial pesticide Former EPA chief Scott Pruitt registers as lobbyist in Indiana MORE, the EPA has questioned the exact impact humans have made on climate change.

While Pruitt has maintained that he believes in climate change, he has been reluctant to tie effects to humans as the agency works to roll back a number of environmental regulations that green groups argue will speed up global warming.

After he was confirmed, Pruitt worked quickly to approve a slew of EPA website changes that removed references to climate change and climate programs.