Climate Change Materials Removed from DOT Website

On or around October 3, 2018, the U.S. Department of Transportation (“DOT”) removed at least two pages discussing climate change from its website. One of the pages, titled “Climate Change Impacts,” had previously included links to studies assessing the impacts of climate change on the transportation sector. The second page, described by DOT as its “Transportation and Climate Change Clearinghouse,” had served as a “one-stop source of information on transportation and climate change issues.” DOT archives indicate that the clearinghouse contained:

“information on greenhouse gas (GHG) inventories, analytic methods and tools, GHG reduction strategies, potential impacts of climate change on transportation infrastructure, and approaches for integrating climate change considerations into transportation decision making.”

A DOT spokesperson told reporters that the pages were removed because the content was “at least 4 years old and in some cases included studies over 18 years old.” The spokesperson indicated:

“Web archive procedures at the Department call for web records and applications, in general, to be archived when they no longer serve a purpose. Content that has been administration-specific or not updated in two years is subject to unpublishing to prevent static, outdated web content. In general, the retention schedule for dated reference materials is to archive annually, retaining two full years on the live site.”