Environmental Defense Fund Obtains Information on Over 1,900 Climate-Related Items Removed from or Modified on EPA Website

Results of FOIA Request Show Vital Information Removed or Modified by Trump Administration

August 11, 2017
Sharyn Stein, 202-572-3396, sstein@edf.org

(Washington, D.C. – August 11, 2017) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released information on more than 1,900 climate-related web pages and files that were removed from or modified on its website under Administrator Scott Pruitt – including vital information on the impacts of climate change on children’s health.

Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) received this information from EPA in response to an EDF Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for documents about changes to EPA’s website pertaining to climate and air quality.

The FOIA request, which sought all changes made to EPA’s climate-related web pages since Inauguration Day, reflects EDF’s deep commitment to promoting transparency and accountability at federal agencies at a time when many public health and environmental protections are under attack.

“Many of these now-removed and -modified web pages were created to help American communities understand the science of climate change and protect themselves from its harmful impacts,” said Ben Levitan, an attorney at EDF. “EPA is legally obligated to address climate change, which is an urgent threat to our public health and environment. The newly-released documents are yet another troubling sign of Administrator Pruitt’s disregard for science and public transparency, and a reminder that we must be vigilant in holding him accountable.”

The documents released in response to EDF’s FOIA request list web pages related to climate change that EPA removed from or modified on its website in late April of this year. They cover vital topics including climate and energy resources for state, local, and tribal governments; the impacts of climate change on children, older adults, and pregnant women; and the Clean Power Plan — our only national limit on carbon pollution from existing power plants. In total, the documents reveal that EPA removed more than 700 web pages and more than 1,200 files, such as PDF’s.

EDF is currently preparing a more detailed analysis of the records, but is making them immediately available to the public at the following sites:

EDF is still reviewing the extensive documentation to better understand the fate of the removed files and web pages. Initial analysis indicates that:

  • The documents list many web page URL’s that now lead to error pages stating “This page is being updated” or “Page not found.”
  • Some URL’s now redirect to new web pages promoting Administrator Pruitt’s agenda.
  • Other URL’s for specific files remain active, even though those files may no longer be accessible through any surviving EPA web page.
  • Some of the content remains available on existing EPA websites but has been moved to new locations, rendering the old URL’s obsolete.
  • Many of the removed items may be viewable through an archive of EPA’s former website.

Based on a first look, EDF was particularly concerned by the removal of web pages titled:

EDF anticipates receiving more documents in relation to this FOIA request, as well as from other FOIA requests submitted to EPA and other federal agencies.

EDF is committed to making the information it receives available so that the public has the fullest possible understanding of the Trump Administration’s actions pertaining to public health and the environment.

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Environmental Defense Fund (edf.org), a leading international nonprofit organization, creates transformational solutions to the most serious environmental problems. EDF links science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships. Connect with us on EDF Voices, Twitter and Facebook.