EPA science under scrutiny by Trump political staff

Posted: January 26, 2017 by oldbrew in climate, government, Politics

Some may not be happy with this checking of EPA science news but the agency probably expected something like it.

The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public, reports Phys.org.

The communications director for President Donald Trump’s transition team at EPA, Doug Ericksen, said Wednesday the review also extends to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.

Former EPA staffers said Wednesday the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations. Ericksen said no orders have been given to strip mention of climate change from http://www.epa.gov , saying no decisions have yet been made.

“We’re taking a look at everything on a case-by-case basis, including the web page and whether climate stuff will be taken down,” Erickson said in an interview with The Associated Press.

“Obviously with a new administration coming in, the transition time, we’ll be taking a look at the web pages and the Facebook pages and everything else involved here at EPA.”

Asked specifically about scientific data collected by agency scientists, such as routine monitoring of air and water pollution, Ericksen responded, “Everything is subject to review.” Trump press secretary Sean Spicer appeared to distance the president from the issue Wednesday, telling reporters the communications clampdown at EPA wasn’t directed by the White House.

George Gray, the assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Research and Development during the Republican administration of President George W. Bush, said scientific studies were reviewed usually at lower levels and even when they were reviewed at higher levels, it was to give officials notice about the studies—not for editing of content.

“Scientific studies would be reviewed at the level of a branch or a division or laboratory,” said Gray, now professor of public health at George Washington University. “Occasionally things that were known to be controversial would come up to me as assistant administrator and I was a political appointee. Nothing in my experience would go further than that.”

“There’s no way to win if you try to change things,” Gray said.

Phys.org report continues: here.

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