“The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public,” the Associated Press reported Wednesday night. Also subject to sanitizing: “content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame.”
Doug Ericksen, spokesman for Trump’s EPA transition team, said even routine practices like tracking air and water pollution will be “subject to review” by political personnel.
This news comes amid confusion about a government gag order on scientists that instructs them “not to speak to the press, and informing them that there would be an immediate halt on press releases,” Scientific American reported. Christopher Bentley, director of communications for the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, told the publication it was all a misunderstanding and that the government was just restating existing rules—a claim disputed by watchdogs.