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September 28, 2017 3:00 PM, EDT

EPA Alters Climate Wording on SmartWay Program Website

A report by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative, a nonprofit that tracks governmental and scientific websites, made public last month documented scores of EPA changes made on the SmartWay site.

The Trump administration’s doubt of such concepts as climate change and greenhouse gas, or that the piles of scientific research on climate change are credible, was documented as early as April when EPA announced changes to its website.

It’s a growing trend with this administration to put their own stamp on their thoughts about climate change across all federal agencies.

Glen Kedzie, ATA energy and environmental affairs counsel

 

“As EPA reviews its commitment to human health and clean air, land, and weather, our website needs to reflect the views of the leadership of the agency,” J.P. Freire, EPA’s administrator for public affairs said in a statement April 28.

Glen Kedzie, energy and environmental affairs counsel for American Trucking Associations, says such website “carbon cleansing” is an attempt to remove terms used by the Obama administration from the public discussion.

He calls the SmartWay program, which encourages, educates and certifies truckers who reduce their carbon and greenhouse gas emissions, “a demonstrable success with measurable results.”

“It’s a growing trend with this administration to put their own stamp on their thoughts about climate change across all federal agencies,” Kedzie said. “The easiest way to do that is the removal of any references to climate change.”

Some of the examples from Environmental Data and Governance Initiative’s report on the agency’s changes to eliminate “out of date” language:

• The word “carbon” on the website was eliminated from the section titled, “SmartWay Carbon Sustainability Accounting and Reporting.”

• The agency removed the phrase “and generating over 500 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually” from a sentence describing the emission effect of freight movement.

• Changed the section header “Pollution, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and Climate Change” to “pollution” in a paragraph describing freight transportation’s emission contributions.

• Changed the term “black carbon” to “air pollutants” on the site.

• Removed a section titled, “SmartWay is an International Leader in Green Freight.”

SmartWay Program Manager Cheryl Bynum did not return an e-mail message seeking comment.

However, EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman said in a statement to Transport Topics on Sept. 28, there have been cosmetic changes to the website, but none to the program.

“EPA continues to support efforts to improve supply chain efficiency and cut air pollution,” she said.