The social media account for the Badlands National Park of South Dakota shared and then deleted a series of messages about worsening climate change, citing scientific evidence. The messages coincided with President Donald Trump's administration ordering a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency.
On Jan. 24, the Twitter account for Badlands National Park wrote a series of messages noting the rise of carbon dioxide in the air and acidity in the oceans. Social media users viewed the barrage of climate science messaging as an act of defiance against Trump's environmental policies, The Washington Post reports.
"Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30 percent since the Industrial Revolution," tweeted the national park.
"Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years," stated another tweet.
"The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm)," another tweeted said. "As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm."
The tweets were later deleted. A National Park Service official stated that the tweets were not removed because of outside pressure but because they "were posted by a former employee who was not currently authorized to use the park's account. The park was not told to remove the tweets but chose to do so when they realized their account had been compromised."
The tweets about climate science gained the park service a swift social media following. While the Badlands National Park's Twitter account reportedly only had roughly 7,000 followers on Jan. 23, by Jan. 25 that number had grown to 184,000.
The tweets were made on the same day EPA staff were banned by the Trump administration from issuing any news releases, blog updates or sharing anything on social media, The Associated Press reports.
On Jan. 24, Trump had signaled plans to significantly roll back portions of EPA regulations, citing that environmental protections stifle manufacturing.
"Our friends that wanna build in the United States, they go many, many years and then they can't get the environmental permit over something that nobody ever heard of before," Trump said during a meeting with automobile industry executives, according to Politico.
"I am, to a large extent, an environmentalist," Trump added. "I believe in it. But it's out of control."
The president's view on the environment is at odds with staffers at the EPA and national park services, which had officially recognized the scientific evidence of the dangers of climate change during the Obama administration.
In November 2012, Trump had asserted on his Twitter account that climate change was a hoax fabricated by the Chinese government to hurt U.S. manufacturing.
"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive," Trump tweeted.