Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


Policy & Politics

The EPA Is Shuttering its Online Archive: Why that Matters

The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that it will be discontinuing its online archive in July 2022. This means the public will lose access to tens of thousands of web resources. These resources convey information about critical environmental issues, and past and present agency activities, policies, and priorities. All of these resources are publicly funded and intended for public consumption, but the public will no longer be able to access them.

EPA’s web archive served as a tool to counter some of the effects of the Trump administration’s censorship — especially of climate-related information. When the Trump administration deleted the majority of EPA’s climate change web resources, many of them became available (if challenging to access) through the archive. The archive hosts digital resources dating back to the 1990s, and these records allow for everything from historical research to democratic oversight. The EPA will still host snapshots of the majority of the EPA’s website as it was on the final day of the Obama administration and the Trump administration. These snapshots are, unfortunately, not as comprehensive as they were intended to be, with many Spanish language resources missing from the January 19, 2017, snapshot, for example. Retiring the EPA’s web archive means that there will be no official record of EPA web resources (aside from news releases, thankfully) outside the incomplete records from these two days in the recent past.

We need the EPA’s archive to be improved, not retired. It should link to archived historical content from the main website. It should link to archived pages from defunct URLs. The archive’s search function should be fixed, to pull up the most relevant results first and search within date ranges. Archiving material should be required, not at the discretion of individual web managers.

EPA’s archive could become a model of web governance that fosters democratic oversight. Shuttering the archive is moving backward and is a disservice to the public.

By Gretchen Gehrke, co-founder and website monitoring program leader of the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative. She also has worked in science communications and holds a PhD in environmental geochemistry.

Originally published by Union of Concerned Scientists, The Equation. By Kristina Dahl, senior climate scientist.

Check out our brand new E-Bike Guide. If you're curious about electric bikes, this is the best place to start your e-mobility journey!
Appreciate CleanTechnica’s originality and cleantech news coverage? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador — or a patron on Patreon.
Have a tip for CleanTechnica, want to advertise, or want to suggest a guest for our CleanTech Talk podcast? Contact us here.

Written By

We publish a number of guest posts from experts in a large variety of fields. This is our contributor account for those special people, organizations, agencies, and companies.


You May Also Like

Climate Change

Dr. James Hansen and a group of like-minded activists have filed a petition with the EPA to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Clean Transport

Originally published by Union of Concerned Scientists, The Equation. By Dave Cooke It has been over twenty years since smog-forming and particulate pollution standards for...

Climate Change

The Leonardo da Vinci quote in the title captures feelings of hope from people in states, territories, and tribes whose water has been under...

Policy & Politics

Attorney General Launches New Office of Environmental Justice Courtesy of The United States Department of Justice. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland was joined by...

Copyright © 2021 CleanTechnica. The content produced by this site is for entertainment purposes only. Opinions and comments published on this site may not be sanctioned by and do not necessarily represent the views of CleanTechnica, its owners, sponsors, affiliates, or subsidiaries.