Website Monitoring

EDGI is monitoring changes to tens of thousands of federal environmental agency web pages on a daily basis because the effects of proposed changes to federal environmental governance under the current administration could be sweeping and long-lasting. Our work here involves documenting and analyzing data that disappears from public view, and also monitoring and analyzing how data, information, and their presentation may change, sometimes in subtle but significant ways.

After an in-depth internal vetting process by our Website Monitoring Committee, we work closely with partner journalists to make sure context is provided for the change we have observed. We then aim to disseminate our reports widely so that other journalists, local governments, and environmental advocacy groups can conduct their own analyses on issues that matter to them.

Our Website Monitoring Team monitors and documents changes to federal websites, compiles reports on changes and themes, and works with journalistic partners to publish these findings.

For more information on EDGI’s website monitoring work, please contact Toly Rinberg.

Find reports and articles based on our work below:

Agency axes ‘clean energy’ from tech websites

E&E News – Christa Marshall – May 30, 2017
EDGI Report: 15 (screenshots) – (see report description below) 


Don’t call it ‘climate change’: How the government is rebranding in the age of Trump

The Washington Post – Chris Mooney and Lisa Rein – May 26, 2017
EDGI Report: 15 (screenshots) – The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Technology Transitions’ (OTT) former Clean Energy Investment Center page has been updated to entirely remove the phrase “clean energy”, including changing the center’s name from “Clean Energy Investment Center” to “Energy Investor Center”.


The Interior Department Just Quietly Scrubbed Its Climate Change Page

Originally reported by: Motherboard – Sarah Emerson – April 28, 2017
EDGI Confirmation Report: 14 (screenshots) – The Department of the Interior (DOI) made changes to its “Climate Change” page, removing and re-writing descriptive paragraphs and entire sections. This report confirms the changes to DOI’s page reported on by Motherboard. EDGI’s Website Monitoring Team will follow up with further investigation into these changes and others within the domain.


Changes to Energy Dept. websites downplay renewables as a replacement for fossil fuels

The Washington Post – Chelsea Harvey – April 21, 2017
EDGI Reports: 11, 12, and 13 (screenshots) – (see report description below) Gets Altered, Removes Climate Benefits of Renewables

EcoWatch – Lorraine Chow – April 21, 2017
EDGI Reports: 11, 12, and 13 (screenshots) – (see report description below)


The Energy Dept. Website Shifts Focus to the Economy

Climate Central – Brian Kahn – April 21, 2017
EDGI Reports: 11, 12, and 13 (screenshots) – (see report description below)


Trump admin overhauls webpages for wind, vehicles

E&E News – Christa Marshall – April 21, 2017
EDGI Reports: 11, 12, and 13 (screenshots) – DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy (EERE) has made extensive changes to pages pertaining to the Bioenergy Technologies Office, Wind Energy Technologies Office and Vehicles Technologies Office. There was a shift in stated office priorities, and language referring to greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels was changed.


More federal websites change what they say about climate, environment

Michigan Radio – Rebecca Williams – April 6, 2017
EDGI Report: 9
  (see report description below) and EDGI Report: 10 – The EPA page on its initiative to support water utilities in adapting to climate impacts was edited to emphasize resilience and extreme weather over climate change. Changes to this page were originally reported on by InsideClimate News on February 28, 2017 here.


US government website that used to warn about the risks of oil and gas drilling was changed to promote their economic benefits

Quartz – Zoë Schlanger – April 5, 2017
EDGI Report: 9
 – The Government Accountability Office page on managing federal oil and gas resources has been edited to change the framework within which natural gas production is discussed and to remove content on the environmental and public health risks of shale oil and natural gas production.

Can the White House Office of Science Survive Trump?

The New Republic – Emily Atkin – April 5, 2017
EDGI Report: 8 (screenshots)
 – The wordings of the description and Mission Statement of the Office of Science and Technology policy were changed, and major site reorganization occurred.


State Dept. Rewrote Its Climate Change Page

Climate Central – Brian Kahn – March 23, 2017
EDGI Report: 7
 – The description paragraph for the Office of Global Change of the State Department has been significantly changed. In particular, the terms “adaptation” and “sustainable landscapes” have been added, while the term “greenhouse gas” has been removed. In addition, several links, including one to the Climate Action Report, were removed.


Why EPA’s science and tech office no longer has ‘science’ in its mission

The Christian Science Monitor – John Voelcker – March 9, 2017
EDGI Report: 6
(see report description below)


The word ‘Science’ disappears from Environmental Protection Agency office’s mission statement

The Independent – Andrew Griffin – March 8, 2017
EDGI Report: 6
(see report description below)


Who needs “science” in an EPA Office of Science and Technology mission statement anyway?

Quartz– Zoë Schlanger – March 8, 2017
EDGI Report: 6
(see report description below)


The EPA’s Science Office Removed “Science” From Its Mission Statement

The New Republic – Emily Atkin – March 7, 2017
Repost in Mother Jones
EDGI Report: 6
(see report description below)


Activists Rush to Save Government Science Data – If They Can Find It

New York Times – Amy Harmon – March 6, 2017
EDGI Report: 6
 – The description of the role of the Office of Water’s Office of Science and Technology, in the EPA, removed any mention of science, and replaced a mission of developing scientific foundations for protecting people with developing economically and technologically feasible industry performance standards.


Concern Sparked by Recent Changes to a Department of Energy Website for Kids

ProPublica & The Atlantic – Patrick Lee – February 17, 2017
Repost in Common Dreams
EDGI Report:
5 – In the Energy Information Administration (EIA) office of the Department of Energy, there have been significant changes to information on Energy Kids educational pages regarding coal, oil (petroleum), and biomass, as well as some less significant modifications to content on other pages.

Text describing federal fracking rule disappears from interior department website

The Intercept – Alleen Brown – February 15, 2017
EDGI Report:
4 – In the BLM language about the purpose of the 2015 hydraulic fracturing rule and a link to that rule from its page on regulations for onshore energy production were removed. Additionally, a section on, and link to, the proposed methane waste prevention rule was removed.


Scientists across the US are scrambling to save government research in ‘Data Rescue’ events

Business Insider – Dana Varinsky – February 11, 2017
EDGI Report:
3 (see report description below)


Trump administration begins altering EPA climate change websites

Mashable – Andrew Freedman – February 3, 2017
EDGI Report: 3 (see report description below)


The EPA Has Started to Remove Obama-era Information

Climate Central – Brian Kahn – February 2, 2017
Repost in Scientific AmericaClimate Reality, and HeraldNet
EDGI Report: 3 (screenshots) – Links to and descriptions of environmental programs collaborating with international, federal, interagency, and tribal groups were removed from EPA’s climate collaboration page.


Data on climate change progress is disappearing from the US State Department website 

Business Insider – Dana Varinsky – January 31, 2017
EDGI Report: 1 (see report description below) and EDGI Report: 2 – On the Department of Energy’s website, the Climate Action Plan page was removed, as were links to it from other pages on the site, such as from collaboration pages regarding the Clean Energy Ministerial and the US-China Energy Collaboration.


A Coalition of scientists keeps watch on the U.S. government’s climate data

The Intercept – Alleen Brown – January 27, 2017
EDGI Report: 1 On the State Department’s website, there were changes in the descriptions of the Office of Global Change and the Office of the Special Envoy for Climate Change. In addition, pages relating to climate change agreements, such as a page about Climate Action Reports, were removed. On the Department of Energy’s website, the Climate Action Plan page was removed, as were links to it from other pages on the site.

Disclaimer for all EDGI Reports: The information and images within the report are for general information purposes only. The scope of this report is limited to version monitoring information of publicly available websites. EDGI has no control over the nature, content, or sustained availability of the websites we monitor. While EDGI works to assure that the information in this report is correct, that information is subject to the limitations of version tracking software, and is provided “as is.” EDGI makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness or reliability of this information, nor does EDGI intend to assess any agency or entity’s intentions or rationale for the demonstrated changes to any webpages or other online content that appear in this report. Do not rely on the information in this report as predictive, or ascribe intent not presented within the report. In no event will EDGI or any of its members be liable for the use or misuse of the information in this report. Please consult with an appropriately qualified expert if you require qualitative evaluation of or advice about the content of this report.