On Tuesday, Badlands National Park took to Twitter to share facts about climate change. Normally, this wouldn’t be news. National parks and the people who maintain them frequently communicate the threat climate change poses to natural resources.
But these are not normal times. In its first week, the Trump administration has already instructed employees at multiple government agencies — the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the departments of the Interior and Agriculture — to stop sharing information with the public, including through social media accounts.
The National Park Service Twitter account was briefly suspended last weekend after it retweeted accurate information comparing the size of this year’s inaugural crowd to that of 2009. And any mention of climate change was scrubbed from the White House website minutes after Trump took the oath of office.
Thus, Tuesday’s tweets about carbon emissions and ocean acidification — all facts — garnered significant attention. Within a few hours, however, they were deleted from the Badlands National Park account without explanation.
As Timothy Murphy pointed out at Mother Jones, the Badlands account sharing information about climate change wasn’t noteworthy— they have done so numerous times in the past— but the fact that Tuesday’s burst of tweets were soon deleted certainly is.
Trump routinely dismissed and disputed widely accepted climate science throughout his campaign. That same stance is largely reflected in the people he has nominated to lead government agencies, like the EPA, Interior Department, State Department, Energy Department, and Agriculture Department. Fearing a possible purge by the Trump administration, scientists are scrambling to download government climate data onto private servers.
Meanwhile, humanity just lived through the hottest year on record — beating out records set in 2015 and 2014 before that — NASA and NOAA, two government agencies that play a key role in communicating climate science to the public, confirmed earlier this month.
Update: An NPS official told Buzzfeed’s Claudia Koerner Tuesday night that the account chose to delete the tweets after it had been “compromised.”
— Claudia Koerner (@ClaudiaKoerner) January 25, 2017