WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Following a report that the Department of Defense (DoD) revised a January 2018 vulnerability assessment by removing references to climate change and key findings on the risks from sea level rise, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, joined a group of senators in calling on Defense Secretary James Mattis to release the unpublished draft of the report and explain why the omissions were made.
“These are substantive, not stylistic, changes—and it is not the way we expect DoD to conduct business,” the senators wrote. “If DoD is not publishing data that it collects from our installations because they do not fit a particular political narrative, the department is failing to let the science inform its understanding of how changes in the environment may pose a risk to the ability to train our forces, the safety of our facilities and service members, and the long-term readiness of our military.”
The changes in the report follow a troubling pattern of suppressing facts about climate change and clean energy. A report by the Environmental Data and Governance Initiative found that the Environmental Protection Agency removed references to climate change and clean energy from its website. Another report found the Bureau of Land Management had done the same, scrubbing mentions about the importance of climate change mitigation from its website. And this week, the Trump Administration ended NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System, a research project aimed at tracking the world’s carbon and methane pollution output, which are primary contributors to climate change.
The letter to Secretary Mattis, led by U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawai‘i), was also signed by U.S. Senators Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Tom Carper (D-Del.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai‘i), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), and Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.).