Federal Actions

Silencing Science Tracker

Federal Actions

This page lists federal actions targeting climate and other (non-climate) environmental science fields. The listed actions are also included in the table on the SST home page, along with actions taken by state and local governments.

2018-10-26 Climate Science Misrepresented by Alaska Congressman Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a televised debate, Representative Don Young asserted, contrary to decades of scientific research, that climate change is not caused by human activities. Rep. Young also accused scientists of overstating the risks posed by climate change, saying “[i]t’s being used as an instrument to frighten people.”

2018-10-24 Climate Change Omitted from List of EPA Research Objectives EPA, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate

EPA published a draft “Air and Energy Strategic Research Action Plan” identifying research needed to address its “strategic objectives and mandates to improve air quality.” Unlike previous versions adopted during the Obama administration, the Action Plan does not list climate change preparation as a “research objective.”

2018-10-16 Climate Science Misrepresented by Vice President Pence Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

Vice President Mike Pence questioned scientific research showing that climate change is primarily caused by greenhouse gas emissions, telling reporters that its causes “are yet to be seen.”

2018-10-14 Climate Science Misrepresented by President Trump Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In a televised interview, President Trump questioned scientific research showing that anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are the primary driver of climate change, saying we “don’t know” what would have happened “with or without man.”

2018-10-11 EPA Science Panel Disbanded EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA announced that it was disbanding the particulate matter review panel. The panel has historically provided advice to EPA’s Clean Air Scientific Advisory Committee on the need for changes to the National Ambient Air Quality Standards for particulate matter.

2018-10-02 References to “Climate Change” Removed from EPA Document EPA, Federal, White House Government Censorship Climate

The White House Office of Management and Budget removed several paragraphs discussing climate change and its impact on human health from a proposed EPA rule. The removed paragraphs emphasized the particular vulnerability of “children, the elderly, and the poor . . . to climate-related health effects.”

2018-09-27 EPA’s Office of the Science Advisor to be Closed EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

EPA is reportedly planning to close its Office of the Science Advisor. According to its website, the office is responsible for “science policy development and implementation” at EPA, and aims to “ensure that the highest quality science is better integrated into the Agency’s policies and decisions.”

2018-09-18 Climate Change Omitted from National Biodefense Strategy Federal, White House Government Censorship Climate

The White House published a new National Biodefense Strategy, outlining measures to prevent and mitigate disease outbreaks. Despite numerous scientific studies finding that climate change will increase the risk of such outbreaks, it is not discussed anywhere in the strategy.

2018-09-10 References to “Climate Change” Removed from NPS Report DOI, Federal Government Censorship, Self-Censorship Climate

A draft planning document, developed for the New Bedford Whaling Historical Park, was edited to remove all references to “climate change.” The edits were made after officials in the National Park Service’s Northeast Regional Office warned park employees that “we’re being told . . . [to] avoid” discussion of future climate impacts.

2018-09-09 Scientific Data and Records to be Destroyed by DOI DOI, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Other

DOI filed a “Request for Records Disposition Authority” with the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). In the request, DOI seeks permission from NARA to destroy records relating to its conservation, land use, energy, and water programs. Many of the records document the findings of scientific research or contain data needed to conduct such research.

2018-09-05 References to “Climate Change” Removed from EPA Regulatory Impact Analysis EPA, Federal, White House Government Censorship Climate

The White House Office of Management and Budget removed several paragraphs discussing climate change and its impact on human health from EPA’s regulatory impact analysis on the proposed Affordable Clean Energy Rule.

2018-09-05 Research Funding Reallocated by HHS Federal, HHS Budget Cuts Other

HHS announced that it would use funds originally allocated to research and other programs to cover the costs of its Unaccompanied Alien Children program. A total of $266 million will be re-diverted, including $87.3 million originally allocated to the National Institutes of Health for cancer and other research.

2018-09-03 FWS Officials Interfered in Scientific Study DOI, Federal Research Hindrance Other

Scientists from Oklahoma State University and the University of Georgia were engaged by the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) to contribute to a study of the impact of farming on an endangered insect. The scientists allege that FWS officials dismissed concerns they raised about the study’s methodology and pressured them to “work on a rushed timeline at odds with what they saw as good science.”

2018-09 EPA’s Office of Children’s Health Omitted from New Organizational Chart EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

EPA issued a new organizational chart which omitted any reference to the Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP). The Director of OCHP, Dr. Ruth Etzel, was subsequently placed on administrative leave without explanation. This followed several months of what Dr. Etzel described as “guerrilla warefare,” being waged by top EPA leaders, as part of an effort to “disappear” OCHP.

2018-08-14 NPS Scientists Avoiding Discussion of “Climate Change” DOI, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

A survey of scientists at DOI’s National Park Service found that over one-quarter engage in self-censorship, avoiding discussion of, and work on, climate change even when not explicitly told to do so.

2018-08-14 Public Communication by NPS Scientists Restricted DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

A survey of scientists at DOI’s National Park Service found various restrictions on their ability to communicate with the public and journalists.

2018-08-14 USDA Scientists Prevented from Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics Federal, USDA Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of federal government scientists found evidence of political interference in scientific research at USDA. The survey found, among other things, that resources have been shifted away from USDA programs and offices involved in “politically contentious” research.

2018-08-14 FWS Scientists Prevented from Discussing or Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics DOI, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of scientists at DOI’s Fish and Wildlife Service found that many have been told not to work on topics deemed “politically contentious” and to omit “politically contentious” words, including “climate change” and “science,” from their reports.

2018-08-14 USGS Scientists Avoiding Discussion of “Climate Change” DOI, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

A survey of scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey found that nearly one-third engage in self-censorship, avoiding discussion of, and work on, climate change even when not explicitly told to do so.

2018-08-14 USGS Scientists Prevented from Researching “Politically Contentious” Topics DOI, Federal Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of scientists at DOI’s U.S. Geological Survey found that many have been asked or told not to work on topics deemed “politically contentious.”

2018-08-14 Scientific Research Subject to Political Interference at NOAA DOC, Federal Research Hindrance Climate, Other

A survey of federal government scientists found evidence of political interference in scientific research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The survey found, among other things, that scientists have been told to avoid research linking environmental problems to action by industry.

2018-07-31 Climate Change Omitted from List of White House R&D Priorities Federal, White House Budget Cuts, Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate

The White House Office of Management and Budget and Office of Science and Technology Policy jointly released a memorandum outlining the Trump administration’s research and development priorities. Unlike previous versions, issued during the Obama administration, the memorandum does not list climate change as a priority area.

2018-07-24 References to “Climate Change” Removed from USAID Report Federal, USAID Government Censorship Climate

References to “climate change” were removed from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s 2017 Sustainability Report. In a departure from previous versions, the 2017 report no longer lists “climate change adaptation” as a priority, and omits a section discussing “proposed actions” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2018-07-17 Impacts of Climate Change Downplayed by FEMA DHS, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Government Censorship Climate

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) did not discuss climate change in its After Action Report on the 2017 hurricane season. Speaking about the report, FEMA’s Deputy Administrator for Resilience appeared to suggest that climate change is a natural phenomenon, stating “the climate shifts, it changes over time.”

2018-07-16 Online Medical Guidelines Database Removed by HHS Federal, HHS Budget Cuts Other

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, removed an online medical guidelines database. The database, known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse, was thought to be the world’s most comprehensive online repository of medical guidelines.

2018-07-06 Release of Health Study Blocked by EPA EPA, Federal Government Censorship Other

Senior EPA officials reported sought to block release of a scientific study discussing the health hazards posed by formaldehyde.

2018-07-02 References to “Climate Change” Removed from Treasury Department Report Federal, Treasury Department Government Censorship Climate

References to “climate change” were removed from the Department of the Treasury’s 2017 Sustainability Report. In a departure from previous versions, the 2017 report no longer lists “climate change resilience” as a goal of the department, and omits discussion of programs aimed at addressing climate change risks.

2018-06-21 Public Communication by USGS Scientists Restricted DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

DOI issued a new media protocol that requires scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey to obtain approval before speaking to journalists. The protocol permits DOI to reject interview requests on scientific matters.

2018-06-20 Senators Request Review of NSF Grants Congress, Federal, NSF Research Hindrance Climate

Four Republican Senators requested that the Inspector General of the National Science Foundation (NSF) commence a review of its grant-making process. The Senators allege that NSF has issued several grants in violation of federal law, including one supporting a program intended to educate meteorologists about climate change.

2018-06-20 Three EPA Advisory Committees Disbanded EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) announced that it was disbanding three sub-committees — the Ecological Processes and Effects Committee, Environmental Engineering Committee, and Environmental Economics Advisory Committee — “[o]n the recommendation of the SAB Staff Office.”

2018-06-18 EPA Research Grants Cancelled at Direction of Political Appointee EPA, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

A political appointee at EPA — the Deputy Director for Public Affairs John Konkus — ordered the cancellation of at least four grants for research on climate change and related topics.

2018-06-14 New Conference Approval Process Adopted by USGS DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

The U.S. Geological Survey, within the Department of the Interior, will require scientists wishing to attend certain conferences to provide their presentation title(s) and an explanation of how their research relates to the priorities of Interior Secretary Zinke. The information will be reviewed by a political appointee, who will determine which scientists can attend each conference.

2018-05-9 NASA Climate Research Program Cancelled Federal, NASA Budget Cuts Climate

NASA cancelled its Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10 million-a-year program, which provides funding for research aimed at improving the measurement of carbon stocks and fluxes.

2018-05-30 NASA Employees Avoiding Discussion of Climate Change Federal, NASA Self-Censorship Climate

Since President Trump took office, NASA staff have avoided publishing climate change information online, and discussing the topic on social media. This is reportedly due to self-censorship by career staffers who are concerned about “provoking the [Trump] administration.”

2018-05-16 Climate Science Misrepresented by House Science Committee Members Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During a hearing on May 16, 2018, several members of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology misrepresented climate science. Among other things, they incorrectly suggested that human activities are not the primary driver of climate change, and that climate change is not causing sea level rise.

2018-05-14 Release of Scientific Study Blocked EPA, Federal, HHS, White House Government Censorship Other

White House and EPA officials sought to block publication of HHS study on the health effects of water contamination due to concerns that it would be a “public relations nightmare.”

2018-05-10 References to “Climate Change” Removed from DOD Report DOD, Federal Government Censorship Climate

A DOD report discussing how climate change is affecting military bases was edited to remove several references to “climate change” and downplay its impacts. For example, several references to climate change-induced sea level rise and its impact on military bases were removed, as were references to declines in Arctic sea ice.

2018-05-03 DOI Staff Prevented from Attending Scientific Conference DOI, Federal Government Censorship Other

DOI’s Bureau of Land Management prevented at least 14 scientists from attending the annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology. Several of those prevented from attending had been scheduled to speak at a symposium, which had to be cancelled due to the lack of participation by government scientists.

2018-04-23 Release of Federal Sustainability Reports Delayed Federal, White House Government Censorship Climate

The White House Office of Management and Budget has delayed the release of sustainability reports prepared by at least seven federal agencies under Executive Order 13693 (signed by President Obama in March 2015).

2018-04-12 Use of Science in EPA Air Pollution Programs Restricted EPA, Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Other

President Trump signed a memorandum directing the EPA Administrator to make changes to certain air pollution programs. The changes have implications for the use of science in developing and implementing air pollution protections.

2018-04-02 References to Humans’ Role in Climate Change Removed from NPS Report DOI, Federal Government Censorship, Self-Censorship Climate

Officials at the National Parks Service edited a report on the impact of sea level rise and flooding on coastal national parks to remove all references to humans’ role in causing climate change.

2018-03-29 DOL Advisory Boards Suspended DOL, Federal Personnel Changes Other

One DOL advisory board – the Council on Occupational Safety and Health – has been disbanded and four others have had their operations suspended. As of March 2018, the boards had not met in at least nine months.

2018-03-28 EPA Talking Points Misrepresent Climate Science EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Government Censorship Climate

EPA’s Office of Public Affairs issued a set of approved talking points on climate change. The talking points appear to be intended to cast doubt on the scientific consensus on climate change, with one stating “[w]hile there has been extensive research . . . clear gaps remain,” including in “our understanding of the role of human activity” in contributing to climate change.

2018-03-23 Charters of BLM Advisory Councils Revised DOI, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

DOI revised the charters of twenty-one resource advisory councils responsible for advising the Bureau of Land Management. Under the revised charters, councils are required to “provide recommendations for implementation” of various executive orders and secretarial orders, leading to concerns that they will be put “in a position of implementing an agenda rather than providing solid advice.”

2018-03-19 EPA’s Use of Scientific Studies Restricted EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt announced a so-called “science transparency policy” that would prevent studies based on non-public scientific data being used in agency rulemakings.

2018-03-15 References “Climate Change” Removed from FEMA Documents DHS, Federal Government Censorship Climate

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published a new strategic plan in which all references to “climate change” and “global warming” have been removed.

2018-03-09 EPA Staff Participation in Scientific Integrity Survey Restricted EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

EPA scientists were warned against participating in a survey on scientific integrity within the federal government. An email containing a link to the survey was classified as spam “stemming from an unknown entity” by EPA’s Computer Security Incident Response Center, despite those running the survey providing advance notice to that it would be sent.

2018-03-06 EPA Science Advisory Board Unofficially Suspended EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

As of March 2018, EPA’s Science Advisory Board (SAB) had not met in at least six months, leading to concerns among members that EPA is trying to sideline the board. According to members, ordinarily, the SAB would have multiple interactions (including in-person meetings and teleconferences) during any six month period.

2018-02-27 EPA Research Center to be Eliminated EPA, Federal Budget Cuts, Personnel Changes Other

EPA’s National Center for Environmental Research, which distributes grants for research on the effects of chemical exposure, will be eliminated as part of an agency reorganization involving the merger of three research offices.

2018-02-12 NASA Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19 Federal, NASA Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to reduce funding for NASA by 0.3% (compared to FY2017 levels). Among other things, the budget would eliminate funding for the international space station from 2025, cancel a project to upgrade communications satellites, and terminate five earth sciences research missions.

2018-02-12 EPA Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19 EPA, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to cut EPA funding by 33.7% (compared to FY2017 levels), and eliminate a number of the agency’s research and education programs, including the Climate Change Research and Partnership Program and the Environmental Education Program.

2018-02-12 DOI Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19 DOI, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to reduce funding for DOI by 16.8% (compared to FY2017 levels). The reductions are achieved, in part, through cuts to various DOI grant programs.

2018-02-12 USDA Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19 Federal, USDA Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to cut USDA funding by 16.4% (compared to FY2017 levels). Under the budget, funding for a number of USDA research programs, including statistical research programs administered by the Economic Research Service, would be reduced or eliminated.

2018-02-12 NSF Program Cuts Proposed for FY19 Federal, NSF Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes cuts to a number of National Science Foundation (NSF) programs, including a 56% reduction in the NSF account that supports the construction of research platforms and the acquisition of scientific instruments.

2018-02-12 DOE Program Cuts Proposed for FY19 DOE, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to cut funding for DOE by 3.4% (compared to FY2017 levels). Funding for DOE’s innovation arm, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), would be eliminated and funding for its Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy cut in half.

2018-02-12 NIH Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19 Federal, HHS Budget Cuts Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to maintain funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) at FY2017 levels, despite imposing additional responsibilities on the NIH, including establishing three new sub-institutes to take over functions currently performed by other HHS offices.

2018-02-12 NOAA Budget Cuts Proposed for FY19 DOC, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2019 budget proposes to reduce funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration by 20% compared to FY2017 levels. Among other things, the budget would eliminate $273 million in funding for NOAA grant programs, including the National Sea Grant College Program and National Estuarine Research Reserve System.

2018-02-06 National Science and Technology Council to be Restructured Federal, White House Personnel Changes Climate, Other

The White House announced plans to restructure the interagency National Science and Technology Council, which was established in 1993 to coordinate science policy across the federal government. The restructure will be overseen by the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which has requested input from 20 federal agencies.

2018-02 Climate Science Misrepresented by EPA Administrator EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In an interview on a Nevada television station, EPA Administrator misrepresented climate research indicating that rising temperatures will have widespread negative impacts, suggesting that they could actually be positive.

2018-02 DOI Secretary Accused of Breaching Scientific Integrity Policy DOI, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

Two senior scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey resigned in protest over an alleged breach of the USGS’s scientific integrity policy by the Secretary of the Interior.

2018-01-28 Climate Science Misrepresented by President Trump Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

During an international television appearance, aired on ITV, President Trump misrepresented scientific data regarding climate change. The President made several incorrect statements, including suggesting that global temperatures are not increasing, and sea ice cover is not declining.

2018-01-20 NOAA Climate Change Website Suspended During Government Shutdown DOC, Federal Government Censorship Climate

During the government shutdown, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration temporarily suspended access to a website providing climate change data, while continuing to allow access to several other sites. The climate change website returned to service on January 23, 2018, following the end of the government shutdown.

2018-01-17 NIEHS Director’s Involvement in Scientific Study Investigated Congress, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Other

The House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology announced it was reviewing the involvement of Dr. Linda Birnbaum, the director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, in a study of federal toxics regulation and requested that HHS also commence a review.

2018-01 DOE Officials Pressured Researchers to Change Report DOE, Federal Research Hindrance Climate, Other

Researchers at the National Energy Technology Laboratory were pressured, by DOE officials, to change a report on electric system reliability during extreme weather events. The changes were purportedly intended to bolster the Trump administration’s claims that retention of coal-fired power plants is vital to maintain reliability.

2017-12-31 Trump Administration Fails to Fill Science Positions Federal, White House Personnel Changes Climate, Other

As of December 31, 2017, President Trump had filled fewer government science positions than any other recent President, at the same point in time. Just 20 of the 83 positions designated by the National Academies of Sciences as “science appointees” had been filled.

2017-12-28 New Grants Process Adopted by DOI DOI, Federal Budget Cuts, Research Hindrance Other

DOI staff were directed to ensure that grants to outside groups promote the Trump Administration’s policies and have certain grants of $50,000 or more approved by political appointees.

2017-12-20 Climate Change Documents Removed from NPS Website DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

Documents describing the climate action plans of 92 national parks were removed from the National Park Service website.

2017-12-18 Climate Change Dropped from National Security Strategy Federal, White House Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

President Trump unveiled a new National Security Strategy, which omitted “climate change” from a list of global threats.

2017-12-18 Findings of EPA Advisory Committee Misrepresented EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

In a letter to Senator Tom Udall, EPA misrepresented the findings of the Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee, in relation to the need to delay certain provisions of the Agricultural Worker Protection Standard.

2017-12-14 CDC Staff Given List of Forbidden Words Federal, HHS Government Censorship Other

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control were given a list of 7 words, including “evidence-based” and “science-based,” which should not be used in documents prepared for next year’s budget.

2017-12-13 References to “Climate Change” Removed from FHWA Program DOT, Federal Government Censorship Climate

The Federal Highway Administration’s “Sustainable Transport and Climate Change” program was renamed the “Sustainable Transportation and Resilience” program and several references to climate change were removed from its website.

2017-12-05 Trump Science Nominees Lack Qualifications All, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

Of 43 Trump administration nominees in science-related positions, only 41% had a master’s degree or doctorate in a science field, compared to 58% under President Obama.

2017-12 DOI Scientists Prevented from Attending Conference DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOI capped the number of staff who could attend the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting at 199 (down from 450 in previous years).

2017-12 Funding for Offshore Drilling Safety Study Suspended DOI, Federal Budget Cuts Other

DOI ordered the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to “stop-work” on a study of offshore oil and gas drilling commissioned by BSEE pending review.

2017-12 “Climate Change” Omitted from NSF Funding Applications Federal, NSF Self-Censorship Climate

The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded 40% fewer grants containing the words “climate change” in 2017, compared to 2016, with scientists apparently engaging in “self-censorship” and using alternative terms (e.g., “extreme weather”).

2017-12 Fewer Scientists Employed by EPA in 2017 EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

Over 200 scientists left EPA in 2017, most of whom have not been replaced. Over the course of 2017, EPA hired just 7 scientists.

2017-12 FDA Food Advisory Committee Disbanded Federal, HHS Personnel Changes Other

The food advisory committee, the only body dedicated to advising the Food and Drug Administration on food-related science policy, was disbanded.

2017-12 OSHA Advisory Committees Suspended DOL, Federal Personnel Changes Other

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration announced plans to re-evaluate the work of its advisory committees.

2017-12 10 Year Research Project Cancelled by DOE DOE, Federal Budget Cuts Climate

DOE cancelled an ongoing project researching how tropical forests will respond to climate change. The study, which involved over 130 scientists, was launched in 2015 and due to continue until 2025, but will shut down 7 years early (in 2018).

2017-11 NPS Staff Reprimanded for Climate Change Tweet DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

The Secretary of the Interior reprimanded the head of Joshua Tree National Park after climate change-related tweets were posted from the park’s account.

2017-11 EPA Giving Preference to Industry-Backed Science EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

EPA proposed to repeal emissions standards for freight trucks based on research funded by the biggest truck manufacturer challenging the standards.

2017-11 Research into Sea-Ice Cover Obstructed by Congress Congress, Federal Research Hindrance Climate

Congress ordered the dismantling of a back-up satellite needed to investigate the impact of climate change on sea-ice in the poles.

2017-10-31 EPA-Funded Scientists Barred From Serving on Advisory Committees EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA announced that scientists receiving agency grants would not longer be able to serve on its advisory boards.

2017-10-30 EPA Scientists’ Speaking Engagements Cancelled EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

EPA cancelled talks by 3 scientists who were scheduled to discuss climate change at a conference on the state of the Narragansett Bay.

2017-10-23 Trump Administration Fails to Appoint Science Advisor Federal, White House Personnel Changes Other

As of October 23, 2017, the Trump administration had taken longer than any other to nominate a science adviser to head the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

2017-10 Forest Service Scientist Prevented from Attending Conference Federal, USDA Government Censorship Climate

A U.S. Forest Service scientist was denied approval to travel to an international fire conference where he was scheduled to speak on severe fire weather conditions and climate change.

2017-10 EPA Website Relaunched Without Climate Change Materials EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

Multiple links to materials aimed at helping local government officials adapt to climate change were removed from EPA’s website.

2017-10 Chemical Rules Adopted by EPA Against Scientific Advice EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA rewrote certain chemical rules against the advice of agency scientists who warned that the changes may result in an “underestimation of the [chemicals’] potential risks to human health and the environment”

2017-10 References to “Climate Change” Removed from EPA’s International Website EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

Between October and December 2017, EPA made various changes to its International Cooperation website, including removing information about climate change.

2017-09 EPA Enforcement Agents Reassigned EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

Agents in EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division were reassigned to Administrator Pruitt’s security detail, forcing them to suspend investigation of climate crimes.

2017-09 Data Omitted from Crime Report DOJ, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

The FBI’s 2016 Crime in the United States report contained almost 70% fewer data tables than the 2015 report.

2017-09 Climate Science Page Removed from EPA Website EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

A section on climate science was deleted from the website of EPA’s “SmartWay” program and other sections were amended to remove references to “climate change” and related terms.

2017-09 Database of Science-Based Programs Suspended by HHS Federal, HHS Government Censorship Other

HHS suspended the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices which lists addiction and mental health programs that have been independently assessed and deemed scientifically sound.

2017-08-31 CDC Employees Prevented from Speaking to Reporters Federal, HHS Government Censorship Other

Employees at the Centers for Disease Control were instructed not to speak with any member of the news media, regardless of the nature of their inquiry, without the approval of the communications office.

2017-08-18 Coal Mining Study Paused by DOI DOI, Federal Budget Cuts Other

DOI’s Office of Surface Mining directed the National Academy of Sciences to stop work on a study of potential health effects from mountaintop removal coal mining. DOI had previously committed $1 million for the study, but is now reconsidering its funding decision.

2017-08-17 Climate Change Omitted from White House’s List of FY2019 R&D Priorities Federal, White House Budget Cuts, Government Censorship Climate

The White House Office of Management and Budget and Office of Science and Technology Policy jointly released a memorandum outlining the Trump administration’s research and development priorities. Unlike previous versions, issued during the Obama administration, the memorandum does not list climate change as a priority area.

2017-08 EPA Staff Forced to Prioritize Industry “Wish List” EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA staff have been directed to prioritize industry requests for changes to environmental regulations. Many of the requested changes are contrary to agency scientific research.

2017-08 DOE-Funded Scientists Told Not to Reference “Climate Change” DOE, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

DOE-funded researchers were asked by staff at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to remove references to “climate change” and “global warming” from project descriptions.

2017-08 EPA Grants Reviewed by Political Appointee EPA, Federal Budget Cuts, Research Hindrance Climate

EPA announced that it will require new and certain existing grants to be approved by a political appointee, who has told staff he is looking for references to “climate change.”

2017-08 National Climate Assessment Advisory Committee Disbanded DOC, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

The Trump administration disbanded an advisory committee which assisted state and local officials to use the National Climate Assessment in long-term planning.

2017-07-27 Climate Change Information Removed from USDA Website Federal, USDA Government Censorship Climate

Information on climate change mitigation and adaptation was removed, and then returned, to USDA’s “Climate Hubs” website.

2017-07 DOI Scientists Involuntarily Reassigned DOI, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

Approximately 50 DOI employees, including some working on climate-related issues, were involuntarily reassigned to unrelated positions.

2017-07 References to “Climate Change” Removed from NIH Website Federal, HHS Government Censorship Climate

References to “climate change” and links to climate-related documents, including an educational fact sheet on climate change and human health, were removed from the National Environmental Health Sciences website.

2017-07 NPS Scientist Excluded from Tour DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOI prevented the Superintendent of Glacier National Park, a noted climate change expert, from participating in Mark Zuckerberg’s tour of the park.

2017-07 Research Grants Cancelled by HHS Federal, HHS Budget Cuts Other

HHS cancelled $213.6 million in funding for teen pregnancy prevention programs and research. The cancellation will affect five-year grants awarded to 80 institutions by the Obama administration.

2017-07 Human Role in Climate Change Downplayed by NOAA DOC, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued a news release publicizing the Annual Greenhouse Gas Index. The release noted that the index has increased 40% since 1990 but, unlike previous releases, failed to attribute this increase to human activity.

2017-07 EPA Adaptation Staff Reassigned EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

EPA reassigned four staffers in the policy office, who had previously worked on climate change adaptation.

2017-07 EPA Intern Directed Not to Tweet About Climate Change EPA, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

An intern in EPA’s communications office was instructed by co-workers not to mention “climate change” or “going green” in tweets.

2017-07 Non-Scientist Nominated for Top USDA Science Position Federal, USDA Personnel Changes Other

President Trump nominated Sam Clovis, a former radio announcer and economics professor, with no “hard-science” qualifications to the USDA’s top science position.

2017-06-15 DOE Office of International Climate and Technology Closed DOE, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

DOE closed the Office of International Climate and Technology which was formed in 2011 to help the U.S. provide technical advice to other nations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

2017-06 EPA Climate Change Staff Reassigned EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

EPA reallocated staff from the climate change division and climate protection partnership division to other areas.

2017-05-23 DOD’s FY18 Budget Request Cut by Trump Administration DOD, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s proposed FY2018 budget included $347 million in funding for climate and environmental research at DOD. This represents less than 1% of the amount requested by DOD and would result in cuts to several research programs.

2017-05-23 DOE’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration DOE, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposes a 59% cut in funding for DOE’s earth and environmental sciences program which plays a key role in federal climate change research.

2017-05-23 NIH’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration Federal, HHS Budget Cuts Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed a 25% cut in funding for research programs at NIH’s National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

2017-05-23 DHS’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration DHS, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY 2018 budget proposed an 11% cut in funding for DHS programs supporting climate and other environmental research.

2017-05-23 DOI’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration DOI, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed a 19% cut in funding for climate and environmental research programs at DOI.

2017-05-23 EPA’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration EPA, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposes to cut funding for EPA climate and environmental research programs by 39% or $438 million.

2017-05-23 NASA’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration Federal, NASA Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposes to cut funding for NASA climate and environmental research programs by 8% or $151 million.

2017-05-23 NOAA’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration DOC, Federal Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed to cut funding for NOAA’s climate and environmental research programs by 7% or $49 million.

2017-05-23 NSF’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration Federal, NSF Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed a 10% cut funding in for the National Science Foundation (NSF)’s climate and environmental research programs. This is expected to lead to 800 fewer awards to universities and other institution in 2018 compared to 2017.

2017-05-23 USDA’s FY18 Budget Cut by Trump Administration Federal, USDA Budget Cuts Climate, Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed a 12% cut in funding for USDA climate and environmental research programs.

2017-05-23 Cuts to FY2018 Funding for National Hansen’s Disease Program Proposed Federal, HHS Budget Cuts Other

The Trump administration’s FY2018 budget proposed a 23% cut in funding the National Hansen’s Disease Program. The program, which is operated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration, conducts research on leprosy.

2017-05-18 “Climate Change” References Removed from USGS Press Release DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOI amended the press release for a paper on sea level rise to remove a sentence identifying climate change as its cause.

2017-05-05 EPA Scientific Advisory Board Members Dismissed EPA, Federal Personnel Changes Other

EPA dismissed at least five academics serving on its scientific review board and indicated that it may replace them with industry representatives.

2017-05 EPA Advisory Board Chair Pressured to Change Congressional Testimony EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

The chair of EPA’s Board of Scientific Counselors was pressured to change her testimony before Congress to downplay the Trump administration’s decision not to reappoint half of the board’s members.

2017-05 “Climate Change” References Removed from FHWA Website DOT, Federal Government Censorship Climate

References to “climate change” on the FHWA’s website and were replaced with alternate terms such as “resiliency” and “sustainability.”

2017-05 Climate Change Information Buried on EPA Website EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

EPA buried a webpage intended to educate school children about climate change, removing a link to the page from an archived version of its website.

2017-05 References to “Clean Energy” Removed from DOE Website DOE, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOE’s “Clean Energy Investment Center” was renamed the “Energy Investor Center” and all references to “clean energy” were removed from its website.

2017-05 Scientific Advice on Chemical Disregarded by EPA EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Other

EPA denied a petition to ban Chlorpyrifos, a chemical widely used as a pesticide, against the advice of top agency scientists who had warned that exposure exceeds safe levels in many areas.

2017-05 DOI Advisory Boards Suspended or Eliminated DOI, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

DOI froze the work of more than 200 advisory boards, committees, and subcommittees to enable it to review “the charter and charge of each committee.” DOI also allowed the charter of the Advisory Committee on Climate Change and Natural Resource Science to expire.

2017-05 Climate Change Page Removed from BLM Website DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

A page describing efforts to address climate change, and providing links to DOI and other federal resources on climate change and renewable energy, was removed from the Bureau of Land Management’s website.

2017-05 Word “Climate” Removed from BIA Program Name DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

The “Tribal Climate Resilience Program” was renamed the “Tribal Resilience Program” and all references to “climate” and “climate change” were removed from its website.

2017-05 DOI Scientists Work Criticized by Political Appointees DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

Political appointees at DOI criticized a U.S Geological Survey press release, which described climate change as “dramatically” reducing the size of glaciers. One official described the statement as a “perfect example of [scientists] going outside their wheelhouse” and another indicated that “we need to watch for inflammatory [language] in their press releases.”

2017-04-28 EPA Climate Change Website Removed EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

EPA’s climate change website was removed and replaced with a message indicating that it is being updated to reflect the agency’s priorities under President Trump.

2017-04-19 Climate Change Information Removed from DOI Website DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOI’s main climate change webpage was revised to omit various references to the adverse effects of climate change and a detailed discussion of DOI’s climate change priorities.

2017-04-10 Forensic Science Committee Disbanded DOJ, Federal Personnel Changes Other

Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced he would not renew the National Commission on Forensic Science, a 30 member advisory committee established to review forensic science standards.

2017-04 EPA Scientist’s Participation in Public Events Restricted EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

An EPA scientist was warned not to speak on climate change at public-facing events or to have such events approved by headquarters in advance.

2017-04 Benefits of Renewable Energy Downplayed by DOE DOE, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOE changed its website to remove references to renewable energy as a low-emission alternative to fossil fuels and focus solely on renewable energy’s potential to create jobs.

2017-04 DOE Scientists Prevented from Attending Conference DOE, Federal Government Censorship Other

Up to 27 DOE scientists were told they could not attend the 2017 International Atomic Energy Agency conference.

2017-04 Oil and Gas Production Risks Downplayed on GAO Website Federal, GAO Government Censorship Climate, Other

A GOA website on managing federal oil and gas resources was edited to remove content on the environmental and public health risks of shale oil and gas production.

2017-04 Climate Change Resources Removed from DOE Website DOE, Federal Government Censorship Climate

Links to various climate change resources, including the National Climate Assessment, were removed from the DOE’s main climate change website.

2017-03-29 Climate Science Criticized in Congressional Hearing Congress, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation, Research Hindrance Climate

At a hearing of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Rep. Lamar Smith criticized climatologists, asserting that they often “operate outside the principles of the scientific method.” Rep. Smith also questioned the accuracy of climate projections, saying that constitute “[a]larmist predictions [that] amount to nothing more than wild guesses.”

2017-03-09 Climate Science Misrepresented by EPA Administrator EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

In an interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt misrepresented climate science, suggesting that scientists have not established that greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of climate change.

2017-03-07 Word “Science” Removed from EPA Science Office Website EPA, Federal Government Censorship Other

References to EPA’s Office of Science and Technology policy developing “science-based standards” were changed to read “economically and technologically achievable standards.”

2017-03 DOE Staff Told to Avoid References to “Climate Change” DOE, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

A supervisor in DOE’s international climate office instructed his staff not to use the terms “climate change,” “emissions reduction,” or “Paris Agreement.”

2017-02-16 USDA Staff Told to Avoid References to “Climate Change” Federal, USDA Self-Censorship Climate

USDA staff were instructed to avoid using certain terms, including “climate change,” which should be replaced with “weather extremes.”

2017-02-09 EPA Staff Prevented from Attending Climate Conference EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate

Half of the 34 EPA staffers scheduled to attend the Alaska Forum on the Environment were told they could no longer attend the event.

2017-02-03 EPA Employees Warned About Speaking Publicly EPA, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

EPA staff received an email warning them that, while they are free to speak publicly, doing so presents risks.

2017-02 DOE Website Rewritten to Downplay Impact of Fossil Fuels DOE, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

The Energy Information Administration rewrote its “Energy Kids” website to downplay the environmental impacts of burning fossil fuels. Two charts showing the link between coal burning and greenhouse gas emissions were removed.

2017-02 Animal Welfare Documents Removed from USDA Website Federal, USDA Government Censorship Other

Thousands of documents detailing animal welfare violations were removed from USDA’s website after being made publicly available for decades.

2017-02 Impact of Fossil Fuels Downplayed by DOI DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate

DOI removed several references to the adverse effects of fossil fuels and the need to develop cleaner renewable energy technologies from its energy website.

2017-01-25 EPA Scientists’ Research Subject to Review Before Publication EPA, Federal Government Censorship, Research Hindrance Climate, Other

The head of communications for the EPA transition team indicated that agency scientists would be required to have their research reviewed before publication.

2017-01-24 NPS Climate Change Tweets Deleted DOI, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

The Badlands national park deleted four tweets, containing basic scientific facts about climate change, from its account. The tweets were reportedly posted by a former employee who was not authorized to use the park’s account.

2017-01-21 Arctic Strategy Removed from White House Website Federal, White House Government Censorship Climate

The White House deleted links to the U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic and related documents from its website.

2017-01-20 “Climate Change” References Removed from White House Website Federal, White House Government Censorship Climate

The White House website was re-launched with all references to “climate change” removed.

2017-01 CDC Climate Change Summit Cancelled Federal, HHS Self-Censorship Climate

CDC preemptively cancelled a planned summit on climate change and public health due to concerns about the Trump administration’s reaction.

2017-01 Climate Change Pages Removed from State Department Website Federal, State Department Government Censorship Climate

The State Department removed various pages mentioning climate change from its website, including a page providing links to the department’s 2010, 2014, and 2016 Climate Action Reports.

2017-01 Public Communication by DOI Staff Restricted DOI, Federal Government Censorship Climate, Other

The Trump transition team instructed DOI staff not to send out press releases, post on social media or blogs, or update websites and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the media.

2017-01 Public Communication by HHS Staff Restricted Federal, HHS Government Censorship Other

The Trump transition team instructed HHS staff not to send out press releases, post on social media or blogs, or update websites and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the media.

2017-01 Public Communication by USDA Staff Restricted Federal, USDA Government Censorship Climate, Other

The Trump transition team instructed USDA staff not to send out press releases, post on social media or blogs, or update websites and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the media.

2017-01 DOE Advisory Board Disbanded DOE, Federal Personnel Changes Climate, Other

The Secretary of Energy Advisory Board, which was a key adviser to past DOE secretaries, was reportedly “sunset.” DOE has no plans to reconstitute the board at this time.

2017 EPA Staffers Frozen Out of Decision-Making EPA, Federal Bias and Misrepresentation Climate

EPA staffers are being frozen out of decision-making in their areas of expertise, with political appointees making decisions instead.

2017 “Climate Change” References Removed from EPA Documents EPA, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

EPA staff amended internal program documents to replace “climate change” with “climate resiliency” in an effort to prevent program cuts.

2017 Four Climate Fellowships Rescinded by NOAA DOC, Federal Budget Cuts Climate

Budget cuts resulted in NOAA rescinding four of the eight offers made to researchers to participate in the 2017 Climate and Global Change Postdoctoral Fellowship Program. As a result, fewer researchers participated in the 2017 program than in any other year since it was launched.

2017 Materials Removed from HHS Website Federal, HHS Government Censorship Other

Between June and December 2017, various content was removed from the website of HHS’s Office of Women’s Health, including pages discussing breast cancer and lesbian and bisexual health.

2016-12-06 Names of DOE Climate Change Staff Requested DOE, Federal Personnel Changes Climate

The Trump transition team sent, then disavowed, a survey seeking information about DOE staff who had worked on climate change.

2016-12 Names of USDA Staff Working on Climate Change Requested Federal, USDA Personnel Changes Climate

The Trump transition team requested information about USDA’s Office of Climate Change, including the names of all staff members.

2016-12 References to “Climate Change” Removed from DOE Documents DOE, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

Internal DOE documents were amended to re-frame “climate change” projects as “weather” or “jobs” projects.

2016-12 Word “Climate” Removed from EPA Program Name and Website EPA, Federal Self-Censorship Climate

EPA’s “Climate Ready Water Utilities” program was renamed the “Creating Resilient Water Utilities” program and several references to “climate change” and “climate science” were removed from its website.

2016-11 References to “Climate Change” Removed from CDC Website Federal, HHS Government Censorship, Self-Censorship Climate

In late 2016, following the presidential election, several references to “climate change” were removed from the website of the CDC’s National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.