USDA Reportedly Advised Employees To Avoid The Term ‘Climate Change’

Former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue takes his seat before testifying before the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 23, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

Officials at the Department of Agriculture (USDA) under the Trump administration have instructed employees to avoid using the terms “climate change” and “greenhouse gases,” according to emails obtained by The Guardian.

In a February email, an official at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Bianca Moebius-Clune, told employees to avoid using the term “climate change” and to employ the phrase “weather extremes” instead, according to the report. Moebius-Clune also told staff to avoid the phrase “reduce greenhouse gases” and instead use “build soil organic matter” or “increase nutrient use efficiency,” per The Guardian.

However, employees were told that mentions of economic growth should be “tolerated if not appreciated by all,” according to The Guardian.

In a statement, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) denied that the USDA or the Trump administration ordered the division to change its messaging on climate change.

“The Natural Resources Conservation Service has not received direction from USDA or the Administration to modify its communications on climate change or any other topic.  The agency continuously evaluates its messaging to America’s farmers, ranchers, and foresters as they work to implement voluntary conservation on their operations to improve the health of our soil, air, water, and habitat,” the NRCS said in a statement.

The email to USDA employees appears to reflect a broader policy across several agencies when it comes to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency has removed much of its information on climate change from its website, and the Interior Department has removed most mentions of climate change from its website as well.

Read The Guardian’s full report here.

This post has been updated.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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