Students of history will remember that back in the bad old days of the Soviet Union, once prominent leaders would sometimes “disappear” from official government photos and records when they fell from favor with the powers that be. One year an official could be a close ally of Stalin and the next simply become a “non-person.”
“Comrade Zinoviev? Never heard of him.”
It now appears that North Carolina may well have embarked on a similar path when it comes to one of the most important public policy issues of our time. According to WRAL.com, the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources (an agency already battered by the disastrous publicity it has received in the aftermath of the Dan River coal ash disaster) has decided to make climate change a “non-issue.” This is from the WRAL story:
“Links and documents about climate change have recently disappeared from the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.
As recently as Jan. 21, information about climate change was available on the front page of the Division of Air Quality’s website. Sometime in the last two months, the page was edited to remove the link.
The link used to connect users to a page full of information and resources about greenhouse gases and climate change. That page no longer exists, either.
Two major reports on climate change are also missing from the site: a 100-page report on the possible economic impacts of greenhouse gas mitigation and the state’s 118-page Climate Action Plan, a multi-year project involving dozens of experts and policymakers. Both were commissioned by the state legislature, then controlled by Democrats, and completed in 2008.
Division of Air Quality spokesman Tom Mather told WRAL News the decision to remove the links and documents was made by division Director Sheila Holman. He said they were removed because the programs and commissions are no longer active….
He declined to say whether the change was made to reflect the current administration’s philosophy.”
Let’s fervently hope that this is just a matter of officious bureaucrats screwing up, but given the past statements and actions of DENR Secretary John Skvarla on the climate change matter, the chances seem pretty remote. Indeed, for an administration with lots of bad things it would no doubt like to erase from history, this might well just be the start of a new strategy.