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Public Records Sought to Expose Trump's Climate-change Censorship

WASHINGTON - The Center for Biological Diversity filed four Freedom of Information Act requests today with the Trump administration’s Department of Energy, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Department of the Interior and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration demanding records of communication censoring agency staff from using words or phrases related to climate change.

On Wednesday Politico reported that a supervisor in the Department of Energy on Tuesday instructed staff to avoid using the phrases “climate change,” “emissions reductions,” and “Paris agreement.” The Center’s requests, which seek all directives or communications barring or removing climate-related words or phrases from any formal agency communications, will expand to additional federal departments and agencies in the coming days.

“This is like telling government scientists not to mention gravity or the fact that the Earth revolves around the sun,” said the Center’s Taylor McKinnon. “The Trump administration can deny the reality of the climate crisis, but it can’t make it go away by simply telling government employees not to mention it anymore. This kind of anti-science meddling leads us straight back to the dark ages.”

The Department of Energy instruction came the same day the Trump administration announced a series of climate-related rollbacks, including plans to undo the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan and to rescind the 2016 moratorium on new federal coal leasing on public lands.


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The Center on Wednesday sued the Trump administration to safeguard the coal-leasing moratorium, and last week, along with noted conservation biologist Stuart Pimm and the Center for Media and Democracy, launched an effort to prevent hundreds of environmental data sets on government websites from being removed by the administration.

Records responsive to the Center’s climate censorship requests will be made available to the public and the media when available.

Download today’s requests here, here, here and here.


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At the Center for Biological Diversity, we believe that the welfare of human beings is deeply linked to nature - to the existence in our world of a vast diversity of wild animals and plants. Because diversity has intrinsic value, and because its loss impoverishes society, we work to secure a future for all species, great and small, hovering on the brink of extinction. We do so through science, law, and creative media, with a focus on protecting the lands, waters, and climate that species need to survive.

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