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 ZinkeEnergy development will likely land one bird on the Endangered Species list Montana lawmakers cheer recommendation to ban mining north of Yellowstone Overnight Energy: Navajo coal plant to close | NC dam breach raises pollution fears | House panel to examine endangered species bills 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 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, 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.