The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is acting against its name, deleting dozens of pages helping local governments and policymakers address climate change.

The EPA is turning against what it should stand for. Image credits: Damián Bakarcic.

Full blown anti-intellectualism

The EPA was created with the purpose of protecting human health and the environment. The idea is to develop science-based policies and encourage Congress to pass adequate laws. However, under the current administration, the EPA has basically become a front for climate change denial and fossil fuel lobby. Not only are they now ignoring mountains of climate science, but they’re now removing important resources from the EPA website.

A new study Environmental Data and Governance Initiative found that the website called “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments” has been renamed “Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments.” To make things even clearer, they’ve removed most mentions of the words “climate change” and several pages of scientific references.

Having a national agency purposefully withhold information and try to sweep science-based resource under the rug is no laughing matter.

Gina McCarthy, former administrator of the EPA, said that:

“There is no more significant threat than climate change and it isn’t just happening to people in far-off countries — it’s happening to us,” Ms. McCarthy said. “It is beyond comprehension that E.P.A. would ever purposely limit and remove access to information that communities need to save lives and property. Clearly, this was not a technical glitch, it was a planned shutdown.”

A captured agency

This move is a continuation of what the Trump administration started a few months ago when they started removing mentions of climate change from the EPA website, to “reflect the priorities… of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.” The EPA has also dismissed climate scientists and replaced them with industry representatives and went through an effective blackout per Trump’s orders.

There’s a term for what is happening; it’s called Regulatory capture. As per Wikipedia, regulatory capture is “a form of government failure that occurs when a regulatory agency, created to act in the public interest, instead advances the commercial or political concerns of special interest groups that dominate the industry or sector it is charged with regulating.” Whenever this happens, the interest of companies or political groups are advanced at the detriment of the interests of the citizens. Government agencies suffering from regulatory capture are called “captured agencies.” It’s clear that the EPA now falls under this category.

 

*Comment: When we usually publish an article like this, we receive a certain type of comments and emails in the line of “stick to science get out of politics.” Unfortunately, politics can greatly affect science, and it usually does — for better or for worse. No matter what our political views are, we believe that free access to information and science-based policies are vital for a healthy society, and we will continue to stand for that.

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