Monday, 30 January 2017
Boston Globe, 24 January 2017:
The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.
Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump’s inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency’s social media accounts.
The Trump administration has also ordered a ‘‘temporary suspension’’ of all new business activities at the department, including issuing task orders or work assignments to EPA contractors. The orders are expected to have a significant and immediate impact on EPA activities nationwide.
The EPA did not respond to phone calls and emails requesting comment Monday or Tuesday.
The Huffington Post, 24 January 2017:
The Huffington Post also received a message that was reportedly sent to staff Monday that seems to cover the current agency guidance on talking to the press in general, not just about the directive on grants. The memo states that the agency is imposing tight controls on external communication, including press releases, blog posts, social media and content on the agency website.
(”Beach team” refers to staffers for the new administration working at the various agencies while new leadership is put in place; “OPA” most likely refers to the “Office of Public Affairs.”)
The Guardian, 26 January 2017:
The Trump administration is mandating that any studies or data from scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency undergo review by political appointees before they can be released to the public.
The communications director for Donald Trump’s transition team at the EPA, Doug Ericksen, said on Wednesday the review also extends to content on the federal agency’s website, including details of scientific evidence showing that the Earth’s climate is warming and manmade carbon emissions are to blame.
Former EPA staffers said on Wednesday the restrictions imposed under Trump far exceed the practices of past administrations…..
The EPA’s 14-page scientific integrity document, enacted during the Obama administration, describes how scientific studies were to be conducted and reviewed in the agency. It said scientific studies should eventually be communicated to the public, the media and Congress “uncompromised by political or other interference”.
The scientific integrity document expressly “prohibits managers and other agency leadership from intimidating or coercing scientists to alter scientific data, findings or professional opinions or inappropriately influencing scientific advisory boards”. It provides ways for employees who know the science to disagree with scientific reports and policies and offers them some whistleblower protection.