Environmental Gag Orders

Employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said Tuesday that members of the Trump administration have directed them to refrain from speaking to reporters, publishing press releases, and updating blog posts and social media. They’ve also been asked not to publicize upcoming talks, conferences, or webinars. Additionally, the EPA is to halt all movement on contracts, grants and inter-agency agreements.

The EPA’s gag order comes after similar ones were issued to the Interior Department and Agriculture Department. In an email sent Monday, staff at the Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service were asked not to release any “public-facing documents.” Interior drew the ire of the administration over the weekend after an employee re-tweeted a photo comparing the inaugural crowds of former President Obama and President Trump and noting that the climate change portion of the White House website had been removed. (Here’s what it looks like now.)

The media blackout seems to reinforce concerns that Trump, who has called climate change a hoax and filled his cabinet with billionaires with ties to the fossil fuel industry, will roll back environmental protections and stifle scientific research and education.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the gag orders are being investigated, though such actions shouldn’t come as a surprise as the administration had previously stated it would be reviewing the policies of many agencies.

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