Pruitt Scrubs Climate, Renewable Energy Data for State and Local Governments From EPA Website

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For Immediate Release: 
Friday, October 20, 2017

WASHINGTON – Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt has wiped much of the information that helps state and local governments fight climate change and invest in renewable energy sources from the agency’s website, according to an investigation by the Environmental Data and Governance Data Initiative.

EDGI researchers found that between April and July, climate change and renewables data, tools and other valuable resources for state, local and tribal governments were removed from the EPA’s website altogether, or were moved to make them harder to find and use. When the resources were first taken down or moved, a notice on the website said the change was “to reflect EPA's priorities under the leadership of President Trump and Administrator Pruitt.”

EDGI is a collaboration between nonprofits and academics who have closely monitored a number of federal agency websites, including those of the EPA and the Department of Energy, for any changes or omissions of information related to climate change or renewable energy since President Trump took office.

“Pretending climate change doesn’t exist won’t help the people recovering from the California fires; or the hurricanes and flooding in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico; or the lurch from drought to floods in the Midwest,” said Grant Smith, senior energy policy advisor for the Environmental Working Group. “Despite the Trump administration’s refusal to recognize the realities of climate change or the benefits of cleaner, cheaper energy, the movement of state and local governments to safer, cheaper and cleaner climate and energy policies is only growing stronger.”

Among the information scrubbed from the EPA’s website is a section on “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments.” That section provided state and local governments with advice on “reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving air quality and people's health, and saving money.”

Part of the site has been archived and remains accessible. But its elimination from the EPA’s site means most state and local governments, businesses, advocacy groups and citizens will not have easy access to the important information.

“There they go again,” said EWG President Ken Cook. “Week after week, Trump and Pruitt sink to new depths in their betrayal of federal leadership on climate and energy. Pruitt may not believe in the threats of climate change or the abundant environmental and economic benefits of renewable energy, but state and local leaders do. Cutting off this source of information to states and cities that want to move toward a renewable energy future is just more proof that Pruitt is the worst EPA head in history.”

Earlier this month, Energy Secretary Rick Perry announced plans to prop up the failing coal and nuclear energy sectors by heavily subsidizing both with taxpayer dollars, which would likely increase the monthly energy bills for millions of ratepayers.

“These wholesale changes to the EPA’s website, and the outrageous proposal to bail out coal and nuclear, are part of an ill-conceived strategy cooked up by the Trump administration and the fossil fuel industry to slow progress towards an energy grid powered by renewables and efficiency,” Smith said.