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Badlands National Park tweets, then deletes, climate facts hours after news breaks of EPA gag order


It’s not uncommon for Badlands National Park in South Dakota to tweet facts on climate change and evolution. But a string of tweets from the park about climate change Tuesday were later abruptly deleted, and that raised immediate speculation on social media: had the park gone rogue?

The tweets came hours after news broke that the Trump administration had placed a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency and its employees, banning them from publishing blog posts, issuing news releases and commenting on social media.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture was also ordered to refrain from posting anything online.

Meanwhile, the Badlands Twitter account was alerting its followers to record-setting concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. After thousands retweeted the three tweets, they were deleted without explanation.

It’s customary for incoming administrations to require government agencies to shut down their communication as the new team solidifies its strategy.

Badlands' tweets weren't the first from the National Park Service that had an air of defiance.

On Jan. 16, the federal holiday marking the birthday of civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the official Twitter account of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is managed by the park service, tweeted an image of King with a quote about civil disobedience.

Later, the park service's official account retweeted an image appearing to show the size of the crowd that turned out for Trump’s inauguration in comparison to Barack Obama’s in 2009 -- an issue that quickly became a political hot potato.

The account's administrators later apologized for the tweet.

It's worth noting that several official government accounts, including those run by the National Park Service and the EPA, have remained dark since this weekend.

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