BREAKING: Trump bans EPA employees from providing updates on social media or to reporters, bars awarding new contracts or grants.
— The Associated Press (@AP) January 24, 2017
On Monday, the Huffington Post reported that EPA grants had been frozen, with agency employees barred from speaking of the matter.
The ban is temporary.
The Trump administration’s transition team for the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is planning major budget cuts, as well as regulatory and scientific overhauls at the agency, according to a new report. This is the first salvo.
The EPA is facing $800 million in budget cuts.
These are the first steps in reining in the agency that has waged war on Middle America and introduced endless pages of regulations that has hurt American coal workers.
The EPA is still run by Gina McCarthy and the agency is filled with Obama appointees.
Trump has, according to Gina McCarthy, “little room to maneuver“. The agency is out of control and they believe it can’t be changed because of all the one-sided research they’ve collected.
“It’s going to be a very high burden of proof for them,” said Ms McCarthy, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, outlining why US law would ensure that Mr Trump could not easily abolish climate change regulations.
Myron Ebell, who leads the Trump EPA transition, confirmed the grant freeze to ProPublica.
“They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first,” Ebell told ProPublica.
The blackout is not an unusual move in a transition, but it’s a little more than usual, he said.
Ebell is a Director of Global Warming and International Environmental Policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute. He is considered a climate contrarian.
The memo ordering the social media blackout is shown below.
Agency workers are tweeting from personal accounts that those in favor of Trump’s actions wouldn’t agree if it was their job on the line. Where were they when jobs were lost in coal and oil plants?
The Trump administration reportedly told the Department of the Interior to stop tweeting from its accounts after the National Park Service’s Twitter account retweeted a post about the crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration Friday. The agency brought back its accounts on Saturday.
White House press secretary Sean Spicer was asked about it on Tuesday, “I don’t know … we’re looking into it … I don’t think it’s a surprise we’re going to review the policies but I don’t have any info at this time.”
In addition to the EPA, the Interior Department and the U.S. Department of Agriculture also has seen efforts to curb communication. On Monday, staff at the department’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) were asked in an email to suspend the release of “any public-facing documents.”
“This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content,” the email said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture disavowed the email on Tuesday, saying in a statement that it was released without “departmental direction and prior to departmental guidance being issued.”
The tweets are getting out anyway with alleged facts about climate science.The Badlands National Park went rogue.
Badlands National Park tweets facts about climate change amid EPA blackout https://t.co/8gf2fZiU2z
— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) January 24, 2017
At the same time, Gov. Jerry Brown forcefully defended California’s efforts to control the weather, protect immigrants [illegal and criminal] and expand health care, vowing in his State of the State address Tuesday to fight the Trump administration if it tries to roll back the state’s accomplishments, the AP reported.
“California is not turning back. Not now, not ever,” he declared.
Brown said the signs from the new administration are “disturbing”. He heard “blatant attacks on science”, he said.
Brown is coming off a blockbuster year of leftist victories. In addition to securing an extension of California’s landmark climate change legislation, he increased the state minimum wage, expanded family leave laws, toughened gun laws and persuaded voters to soften sentencing laws and reject a ballot measure that threatened two of his legacy projects on high-speed rail and water supply.
None of it is working for the economy of California but facts never get in the way of ideology.