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Our friends at CREW (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington) broke this story on August 7, 2020 about the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) illegally destroying records and lying about it. Oddly enough, EPA didn’t destroy records because they were damaging to the agency’s reputation or were evidence of agency misdeeds. The records were originally damaged by a water sprinkler accident. But instead of acting quickly to dry the records, they let them fester for several months and get moldy. And then they didn’t follow protocol set under federal law requiring that the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) evaluate and approve requests to destroy contaminated records. No, EPA just went ahead and destroyed the records and then the EPA lied to NARA to cover up their incompetence. This is a case that clearly points to the need for improving training and raising the profile and importance of record-keeping within agencies (2 recommendations put forth by the 2018-2020 FOIA Advisory Committee).
Americans must be able to trust that executive agencies are taking care of OUR records. Sadly, in this instance, EPA failed our trust.
The Environmental Protection Agency illegally destroyed records, deceived the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) about that destruction, and falsely blamed the coronavirus pandemic to escape accountability, according to internal documents uncovered by CREW.
We can’t let Trump roll back 50 years of environmental progress.
“On the first Earth Day in 1970, millions of Americans took to the streets to demand clean air, water and land, and advocate for a healthier and more sustainable environment. By the end of the year, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded…Over the past four years, the Trump administration has reversed or rolled back many policies that protected Americans’ health and environment. Under this administration, the EPA has been transformed from an agency of environmental protection to an accommodating servant of special interests”
“The Trump EPA has repealed or weakened almost 100 environmental regulations, even when affected industries have not objected to the rules. The number and speed of these repeals puts us in uncharted territory. Critical public health and worker protections are being rolled back solely to maximize corporate profits.” See: Harvard’s https://eelp.law.harvard.edu/regulatory-rollback-tracker/
‘”I was gratified to find common voice with many of my former EPA colleagues through the newly created Environmental Protection Network (EPN); within three years, the EPN has grown into a national network of more than 500 EPA alumni who volunteer their time, expertise and experience to push back against this administration’s efforts to undermine public health and environmental protections.” ‘ See Environmental Protection Network https://www.environmentalprotectionnetwork.org/
Possibly lost in the jaw-dropping WTF! statement where the EPA argued its blog isn’t public information is the fact that the EPA, in a PUBLIC BLOG POST ON THE INTERNET WITHIN THE EPA.GOV DOMAIN(!), had the gall to celebrate National Pollinators Week after it expanded the use of the pesticide sulfoxaflor that is considered “highly toxic” to bees. The Doublespeak severely pains this former beekeeper.
“The EPA Blog is an example of information that would not be considered disseminated by the EPA to the public,” Kevin Kirby of the EPA wrote in response to Burd.
There’s a new report out from the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative (EDGI) chronicling the changes the EPA has made to its webpage on hydraulic fracturing or “fracking.” Check out the changes side by side using snapshots from the Internet Archive’s WayBack Machine.
In January this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revamped its webpage on fracking. The page now promotes the interests of the fossil fuel industry at the expense of scientific knowledge and public transparency.
These edits were documented by the Environmental Data & Governance Initiative, a coalition that has tracked changes made to federal environmental websites during the Trump administration. The president has vowed to ease restrictions on fracking as part of his fossil fuel-heavy economic plan…
Some of the most significant changes to the page emphasize the economic benefits of fracking while obscuring its known risks, such as air pollution and drinking water contamination—findings the EPA’s own scientists stressed in the months preceding President Trump’s inauguration.
“[This is] one among many instances wherein the administration has deemphasized or questioned the importance or credibility of scientific knowledge and scientists,” Arnold said, noting President Trump’s “scientists on both sides” refrain regarding climate change and other environmental issues…
Some paragraphs were wholesale removed, such as one that said the EPA is working to improve our scientific understanding of fracking, and another that underscored the need to carefully manage natural gas development in tandem with its rapid development.
Mashable reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has eliminated more than 80 climate change web pages. This according to a new report from the Environmental Data Governance Initiative (EDGI). The EDGI report notes that while NASA maintains a number of informative and frequently updated climate change websites, the EPA’s sites have been gradually obscured, and now eliminated. It certainly would be a public service if Congress would investigate why the EPA, supposedly charged with protecting the environment (it’s in its name!), would obfuscate and delete critical environmental information and data.
Sometime during the night of Oct. 16, 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) eliminated more than 80 climate change web pages — many of the last vestiges to the agency’s online recognition of climate change.
…”There’s no indication now that there was even a climate change website,” Eric Nost, the EDGI report’s lead author, said in an interview.
…The EPA did not respond to multiple attempts for comment about why the public webpages were deleted and if they might return.
…Of note, both the EPA and NASA are sprawling federal agencies directly answerable to the office of the president. Yet, while NASA maintains a slew of informative, diligently updated, and visually-rich climate change websites, the EPA’s sites have been gradually obscured, and now eliminated.
…NASA is a research agency, emphasized Stan Meiburg, the former Acting Deputy Administrator of the EPA, in an interview. It largely exists to perform science. Conversely, he noted that the EPA — which is responsible for protecting human health and the environment — is primarily a regulatory agency, writing and enforcing environmental rules.
… Right now, the environmental agency hopes to enforce a slew of new rules that would, among a variety of things, significantly roll back fuel-efficiency standards for new vehicles and replace Obama’s Clean Power Plan.