Rachel Maddow said scientists who scrambled to save their data and copy it to non-government databases in the final days of the Obama administration weren’t being paranoid.
“Now we know, day four of the new administration, those people were not wrong to be freaked out,” Maddow said on her show Tuesday night. “And they probably, in the interest of science, were not wrong to be downloading and trying to save data privately because the data is disappearing.”
In a clip posted online by Raw Story, Maddow pointed to the Environmental Protection Agency, which was ordered by the Trump administration to freeze its extensive grant program that funds everything from scientific research to air quality monitoring. Additionally, the agency was told to cease all public communications.
The EPA has been “effectively stopped” with no official announcement from the agency or the White House.
“The scientists are being told they are not allowed to speak or publish; it is already happening,” Maddow said. “It’s day four; it is already happening.”
Scientists across the nation are in a frantic push to save as much environmental data as possible before a feared government information purge orchestrated by climate-change denier Donald Trump.
The Sierra Club on Thursday filed Freedom of Information Act requests, seeking information held by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy, Bloomberg reports. The organization is asking those agencies to turn over a multitude of documents, including data on greenhouse gas emissions and power plants. Even if the requests are ultimately denied, the move buys valuable extra time for a mounting effort to gather and preserve data before anything is lost.
EPA staff has been instructed to freeze all its grants ― an extensive program that includes funding for research, redevelopment of former industrial sites, air quality monitoring and education, among other things ― and told not to discuss this order with anyone outside the agency, according to a Hill source with knowledge of the situation.
An EPA staffer provided the information to the congressional office anonymously, fearing retaliation.