Agency: EPA

Silencing Science Tracker

Agency: EPA

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.”

2018-09-05 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 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.

2018-07-06 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.

2018-06-20 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.

2018-05-14 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.”

2018-04-12 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.

2018-03-28 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.

2018-03-19 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.

2018-03-09 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 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 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.

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 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.

2017-11 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.

2017-10-31 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 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 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.

2017-08 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 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.

2017-07 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 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.

2017-06 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 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.

2017-05-05 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 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 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 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.

2017-04-28 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 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.

2017-03-09 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.”

2017-02-09 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.

2017-01-25 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 “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 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.

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.