The Trump administration wants to review the Environmental Protection Agency's website to determine what should stay or go online, including scientific information about climate change.
CNN reported that Trump officials have told EPA employees to not publish press releases, make blog posts or post on social media, leaving many employees feeling "terrified" of the perceived heavy-handed censorship.
Doug Erickson, the communications director for President Donald Trump's transition team at the EPA, said the Trump administration is only looking at already published information on the website to determine what should remain, reported The Associated Press. He added that new information will be put on a "temporary hold," like other press releases, and that the review was not related to politics.
"We're taking a look at everything on a case-by-case basis, including the web page and whether climate stuff will be taken down," Erickson said. "Obviously with a new administration coming in, the transition time, we'll be taking a look at the web pages and the Facebook pages and everything else involved here at EPA."
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"Everything is subject to review," he added, including water and air pollution information.
George Gray, the assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Research and Development under former President George W. Bush and now a professor at George Washington University, said such reviews are typical and normally required to give political officials advance notice.
"Scientific studies would be reviewed at the level of a branch or a division or laboratory," said Gray. "Occasionally things that were known to be controversial would come up to me as assistant administrator and I was a political appointee. Nothing in my experience would go further than that."
"There's no way to win if you try to change things," Gray added.
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But Christine Todd Whitman, who served as EPA administrator under Bush, had a different take.
"I would say its extreme. Its an administration trying to put a strong marker down," Whitman told CNN.
"The reason for what they are doing is reasonable," she added. But "when you put in context how they feel about the press, he doesn't trust the press, it makes Trump administration approach look extreme."