An Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website focused on global climate change was just reinstated, four years after having been removed by the Trump administration.
The reinstatement of the site, which reappeared among the EPA webpages on Thursday, reflects the stark differences on climate policy between the Biden administration and the former Trump administration.
In a video message announcing the site’s return, EPA Administrator Michael Regan announced that “climate change” is “not optional” for the agency.
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“EPA’s climate change website is back, with more content to come,” the reinstated site’s main page currently states. “Please return in the coming weeks as we add new information and features.… Understanding and addressing climate change is critical to EPA’s mission of protecting human health and the environment.”
Environmental activists lauded the reinstatement of the website.
“Communities across our nation are facing tremendous risks from climate change. Only when we’re armed with the facts about what we face now and in the coming years — and have information on what we can do to make a difference on climate change — can we make the best decisions possible to protect the vibrancy of our communities and a stable future for our children and grandchildren,” Andrea McGimsey, senior director for Environment America, said in a statement reacting to the reinstatement of the site.
“By empowering Americans with the best scientific evidence available, the Environmental Protection Agency is providing a critical service that aligns squarely with its mission to protect our environment and public health,” McGimsey added.
The Trump administration formally removed the EPA site on climate change in April of 2017. At the time, J.P. Freire, the EPA’s former associate administrator for public affairs, explained that the agency was doing so in order to “eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”
The site never returned under Trump’s tenure. Meanwhile, during his presidency, Trump frequently questioned scientific reports about climate change. “I don’t believe it,” Trump infamously said of one report warning about the global phenomenon’s likely effects, which was authored by climate experts within the U.S. government.
The reinstatement of the EPA website reflects the Biden administration’s broader policy goals concerning climate change. The White House announced earlier this year that it has a goal to achieve “a carbon pollution-free power sector by 2035,” and to put the U.S. “on an irreversible path to a net-zero economy by 2050.”
Actions taken by the Biden administration so far to discourage carbon usage include the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, a step that Biden defended as a crucial step toward a “clean energy economy.”
Nevertheless, many climate activists say the Biden administration’s policies don’t reflect the kind of urgency required by the climate crisis, arguing that his current policies will not necessarily lead to less carbon-based usage, and that some of his executive orders are at odds with other needed changes, such as a ban on fracking.
Speaking recently to Truthout about the matter, Thomas Meyer, national organizing manager for Food and Water Watch, said a commitment on ending fracking is urgently needed from the Biden administration.
“To have [Biden] say in one breath ‘we’re going to listen to science’ and then to say ‘we are not banning fracking’ is really just unacceptable,” Meyer said.