Badlands National Park tugged on Superman’s cape Tuesday. It spit into the wind. It pulled the mask off the old Lone Ranger, and it messed around with President Trump.
In tweets about climate change that lit up Twitter, the park ignored Jim Croce’s advice in his 1972 hit song and thumbed its nose at the president.
With the Trump administration placing a gag order on the Environmental Protection Agency, shutting down its Twitter feed, forcing employees off their individual accounts and dismantling Web pages with climate-change information, Badlands went rogue.
“Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years,” it declared in one of at least four tweets.
Admirers went nuts. They created a hashtag, #Badasslands, in an ode to the defiance and dubbed the park Breaking Badlands after the TV show “Breaking Bad.” Within hours, the park gained a huge audience.
.@BadlandsNPS's Twitter followers:
— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) January 24, 2017
But in late afternoon, the tweets suddenly vanished.
NPR reporter Nathan Rott was one of dozens of followers who captured four tweets in a screenshot and posted a picture.
— Nathan Rott (@NathanRott) January 24, 2017
According to a National Park Service official, who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record, the tweets are believed to have been posted by a former employee at the park in Interior, S.D., who still had access to the account.
Those tweets “were posted by a former employee who was not currently authorized to use the park’s account,” said the official. “The park was not told to remove the tweets but chose to do so when they realized that their account had been compromised.”
Memories, however, can’t be erased. Twitter hailed the tweets as heroic.
Thank you, brave tweeter at Badlands National Park, for your defiance.
— Kim Lux (@kimlux45) January 24, 2017
— TweetedThatToo (@TweetedThatToo) January 24, 2017
— Md.Nawaz Murshed Kha (@NawazMurshed) January 24, 2017
— Mel V. (@melissavandew) January 24, 2017
Badlands had previously stepped out front, too. On Friday, as Trump was being inaugurated, Badlands also tweeted: “#ClimateChange has implications for naval force structure and operations. Factors driving this include: Water & resource challenges” @USNavy.” The line appeared to come from a report on climate change issued by the Navy.
Kayla Epstein, Lisa Rein and Juliet Eilperin contributed to this report.
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