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article imageEPA's open data site — The shutdown that's not a shutdown

By Karen Graham     Apr 24, 2017 in Internet
Washington - The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) open data website was to be shut down as soon as Friday, April 28, sparking a social media frenzy. This news prompted the EPA to use its Twitter account to reassure people the "rumor" was untrue.
So, who was responsible for the "rumor" about the opendata.epa.gov website shutting down? It was the EPA itself. In a media post on Sunday, open data scientist Bernadette Hyland—the CEO and co-founder of 3 Round Stones, a platform for publishing data on the web, wrote: "Last week, after numerous conversations with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Environmental Information (OEI), and various technical contractors who support them, we were notified that funding is not available to continue operation of the U.S. EPA's flagship Open Data Web service."
And sure enough, at 7:50 Monday morning, a popup on the EPA site showed an announcement saying the site would shut down on Friday, April 28, according to EcoWatch.
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EPA Twitter Account
The funny thing about all this is that by mid-morning, visitors to the site saw nothing at all because the site failed to load. With open data users "scraping' the website to preserve the data available, it is probable this caused the site to crash, according to FWC.
The EPA's open data website is probably the best source of information on health and environmental issues, science and technology and rules and regulations that apply to a vast number of laws in this country. Visitors also are given access to scientific data, as well as charts, graphs and maps.
All of us know that the EPA is tightly woven into the Trump administration's war on science and any and all science-related departments, and naturally, if a federal budget is not passed on Friday, the EPA website would be one of the very first federal portals to be shut down.
But even more ominous is what has already been done to several agencies. Rex Tillerson's State Department has removed all mention of Obama's Climate Action Plan and other climate efforts from its websites. Rick Perry's Energy Department has altered its websites on renewable energy, removing any mention of how renewables can reduce our reliance on fossil fuels.
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EPA Twitter Account
This news is leading up to not only a deadline for passing a "stopgap" budget on Friday but the announcement that Trump would be signing some executive orders that would roll back protections on drilling and protections for the environment, reports the UK's Independent.
"This builds on previous executive actions that have cleared the way for job-creating pipelines, innovations in energy production, and reduced unnecessary burden on energy producers," an administration official said on condition of anonymity. Trump is moving forward on his obviously enjoyable task of gutting anything that has to do with President Obama's environmental protections and climate change rules from the federal government's realm, and it is getting to be sickening.
More about Epa, open data site, Shutdown, Tweets, government shutdown