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EPA removes climate change data, other scientific information from website

AFP AFP_NZ5HB A POL VDE USA DC

Protesters chant in front of the White House during the People's Climate March in Washington, DC, on April 29, 2017. (Photo: NICHOLAS KAMM, AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is updating its website and, in the process, has removed a page that explained the causes and effects of climate change.

The agency said Friday the website, epa.gov , is undergoing changes to reflect its new direction under President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt.

“As EPA renews its commitment to human health and clean air, land and water, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” J.P. Freire, the agency’s associate administrator for public affairs, said in a statement.

“We want to eliminate confusion by removing outdated language first and making room to discuss how we’re protecting the environment and human health by partnering with states and working within the law.”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 overhaul already appears to have impacted at least two of the agency’s websites – the EPA’s main climate change site and another regarding the Clean Power Plan, a rule put in place under former President Obama to reduce carbon pollution from power plants.

Visitors to the EPA’s main climate change website are now directed to a page that explains the site is being updated. The website, which launched in 1997, had included detailed data on the causes and the impact of climate change.

An archived snapshot of how the page looked under the Obama administration is still available from EPA’s main page. The agency said it will follow proper archiving procedures.

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The first website update will reflect Trump’s position on energy independence and his calls for a review of Obama’s Clean Power Plan, the EPA said.

The site that included detailed data on the Clean Power Plan now directs readers to a page with photo of Trump signing an executive order in March to undo that rule and other Obama-era climate regulations.

In its statement, the EPA said the language associated with the Clean Power Plan is “out of date” and that content related to climate and regulation also is under review.

Environmentalists said they were alarmed by the EPA’s decision to scrub scientific data from the site.

“Cleansing has begun,” David Doniger, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s climate and clean air program, wrote on Twitter.  “EPA website scrubbed of pages on ‘so-called’ Clean Power Plan. Now only alternative facts.”

The non-profit Environmental Data and Governance Initiative , which tracks governmental and science websites, called the website overhaul “concerning” and noted that the climate change resources became inaccessible the evening before tens of thousands of protesters participated in climate marches in Washington and other cities.

“The timing of this overhaul cuts off availability when access to trusted information about the science behind climate change will be necessary to enable a conversation about our changing climate,” the group said.

The group said it will continue to monitor the website update and make sure the archived snapshot of epa.gov remains online and accessible.

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Will Samantha Bee upstage White House Correspondents' Dinner?

Jack Gillum, Associated Press Published 12:48 p.m. ET April 29, 2017 | Updated 57 minutes ago

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The sign pretty much says it all. (Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris, Getty Images for TBS)

WASHINGTON — Washington’s once-glitzy “nerd prom” is about to get overshadowed.

Late-night TV star Samantha Bee was pulling in celebrities for the first “Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” on Saturday — a tongue-in-cheek play on the real bash, where journalists, the president and, in recent years, lots of bold-face names have mingled.

But President Donald Trump was skipping the White House Correspondents’ Association gala, instead marking his 100th day in office with a rally in Pennsylvania. No president had declined an invitation since Ronald Reagan in 1981, and he was recovering from an assassination attempt. Still, Reagan phoned in some friendly, humorous remarks.

WHCA dinner organizers wanted to put the focus on the First Amendment and the role of the press in democracy. The scheduled headliners were Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, set to present journalism awards. Woodward told The Washington Post the two planned to speak about “the First Amendment and the importance of aggressive but fair reporting.”

Look for the celebrities at Bee’s event: TV stars such as Alysia Reiner of  Orange Is The New Black , Retta of  Parks and Recreation  and Matt Walsh of  Veep  were expected at her after-party.

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The correspondents’ group, as usual, booked a master of ceremonies: Hasan Minhaj of  The Daily Show . Broadcast coverage was to begin at 9:30 p.m. on C-SPAN, followed by Bee’s event airing on TBS at 10 p.m.

Jeff Mason, the WHCA president, said this year would have been different even if Trump had attended, “based on the tension that has existed in the relationship and some of the things he has said about the press. We were preparing for a different dinner either way.”

Trump has called the media “fake” and “dishonest” and even “the enemy of the people.” In an emailed fundraising appeal before leaving for Pennsylvania, Trump cited among the accomplishment over his first 100 days, “We fought back against the media’s lies.”

Mason promised that Minhaj would use his comedy chops, without “roasting the president in absentia.”

“People don’t want to come to a dinner and feel bored or preached at. Hopefully neither of those things will happen,” Mason said.

Bee, who hosts TBS’ Full Frontal  weekly show, said she planned to focus on celebrating the press.

“We’re intending our show to really focus on honoring the press for all of the work that we vampire from them, all the hard work that people do that go into making a show like ours possible,” she told The Associated Press this past week.

The dinner began in 1921, and last year, for President Barack Obama’s final appearance, the crowd included Will Smith, Emma Watson, Kerry Washington, Helen Mirren and model Kendall Jenner.

Most people trace the development of the celebrity guests to 1987, when then- Baltimore Sun  reporter Michael Kelly brought Fawn Hall, the secretary in

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