President Donald Trump’s war on science and the environment continues as his administration is set to switch off the Environmental Protection Agency’s Open Data Web site this week. The data service is the United States government’s largest civilian-linked data tool, according to The Independent, and offers information open to researchers on the climate, the environment, and public health. While that would be awful enough, since the tool is vital for keeping people informed about health and climate data, that isn’t all Trump has planned for this week.
Private citizens will soon no longer have access to a tool that allowed them to obtain data on climate change, health impact analysis, environmental justice, and life cycle assessment. The EPA’s Open Data Web page provided information on toxic chemicals, and allowed people to see if a treacherous spill had happened near them during the last 30 years. All that information is about to go dark, thanks to Trump.
The move to yank data away from citizens isn’t Trump’s only planned assault this week. On Wednesday he is supposed to sign an executive order connected to the 1906 Antiquities Act, signed into law by Theodore Roosevelt. President Barack Obama the act – more than other presidents – to protect federal areas such as the 1.6 million acres of land in Nevada and Utah which he designated as national monuments. The land contains Native American artifacts, and Obama’s move protected the area from drilling and mining.
Then on Friday Trump is set to sign another executive order to review rules on offshore drilling and look at areas for offshore oil and gas exploration. Both orders could pave the way for more fossil fuel development.
Trump’s been working hard to undo Obama-era climate change regulations, citing goals for improving jobs in the US. An anonymous White House official told Reuters over the weekend, “This builds on previous executive actions that have cleared the way for job-creating pipelines, innovations in energy production, and reduce unnecessary burden on energy producers.” Whether these moves will create jobs remains to be seen, but the impact on the environment is very real.