JAN 30, 2017 11:59 AM PST

EPA and NPS Go Rogue against Trump's wishes

President Trump has been in office for 10 days. Within those 240 hours he has set our nation back 100 years. Of interest at the moment environmentally speaking, aside from his orders to grant the advancement of the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines, is his gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Park Service (NPS).

CBS News

The Associated Press reported that the president has banned EPA employees from “providing updates on social media or to reporters”, and blocked them from giving out new contracts or grants as well. Trump is reportedly planning $800 million in planned budget cuts, including to state and tribal assistance grants, climate programs and environmental programs and management, according to The Hill. And now he’s silenced their public voice.

Or so he thought. Although the official NPS and EPA social media sites have been blocked, new “rogue” accounts have been popping up in the last days, and the AltUSNatParkService Twitter account already has more than 1 million followers. Other accounts for specific national parks and other entities have followed, including accounts like Rogue NASA and AltUSForestService, and all are flooding the internet with the hard cold facts about climate change and updates on Trump’s ambitions of eliminating environmentally-conscious talk. Most recently includes tweets about Trump’s plans to invalidate the Endangered Species Act.  

The start of this may have been initiated from a tweet posted by the Badlands National Park about the threats of climate change, noting that there is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere “than at any time in the last 650,000 years” followed by the hashtag “climate”. This was seemingly post-gag order from the president, and the post was deleted.

"I think that it's natural that scientists would want to retain their political power and say. 'This is not OK and we as scientists want to stand up for fact-based policy and spreading the truth that human activity is changing the climate,' " Eric Holthaus, a meteorologist in Tucson, says.

These accounts are run by anonymous sources. It was originally thought that they were employees of the agencies themselves, although it is now believed that some independent scientists and environmental groups have taken over certain accounts.

An alternative account for the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site, in West Branch, Iowa, tweeted Hoover’s warning that, “Immediately upon attaining power each dictator has suppressed all free speech except his own.”

Sources: The Guardian, The Atlantic, The Hill, NPR

About the Author
BA Environmental Studies
Kathryn is a curious world-traveller interested in the intersection between nature, culture, history, and people. She has worked for environmental education non-profits and is a Spanish/English interpreter.
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