MUZZLING THE EPA – AND EMPLOYEES FIGHTING BACK

It began immediately after Trump’s inauguration, with taking down any mention of President Obama’s climate change plan from the White House website.  But the Orwellian effort to bury information from the people hasn’t stopped there.

On Monday, the new administration put restrictions on EPA employees “effective immediately” to cease any communications with the public.  No press releases or social media posts.  All requests from  journalists to be “carefully screened.”

The gag order greeted EPA staff on the same day that Trump’s team placed a total freeze on EPA grants and contracts, customarily used to fund research science and for local cleanup efforts.  No more testing of groundwater for contamination after a toxic spill.  No more support for air and water quality monitoring.

Here’s what a fellow inside the Agency just had to say on Facebook:   “So I work at the EPA and yeah it’s as bad as you are hearing:  The entire agency is under lockdown, the website, facebook, twitter, you name it is static and can’t be updated. All reports, findings, permits and studies are frozen and not to be released. No presentations or meetings with outside groups are to be scheduled.  Any Press contacting us are to be directed to the Press Office which is also silenced and will give no response.  All grants and contracts are frozen from the contractors working on Superfund sites to grad school students working on their thesis.  We are still doing our work, writing reports, doing cancer modeling for pesticides hoping that this is temporary and we will be able to serve the public soon. But many of us are worried about an ideologically-fueled purging and if you use any federal data I advise you gather what you can now.  We have been told the website is being reworked to reflect the new administration’s policy.  Feel free to copy and paste, you all pay for the government and you should know what’s going on. I am posting this as a fellow citizen and not in any sort of official capacity.”

As for climate change, according to the Reuters news agency, the administration is planning to remove the page epa.gov/climate, which links to the agency’s vast amount of climate data including peer-reviewed research and information on greenhouse gas emissions.  The EPA’s voluntary climate-change programs have already vanished from the website.  If it goes dark altogether, “years of work we have done  on climate change will disappear,” according to an EPA staff person.

Other gag orders have reportedly been put on the science branches of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and on Health and Human Services.

A letter signed by twelve Democratic senators went to Trump on Wednesday.  It read, in  part: “Targeting the scientists at these agencies and prohibiting them from sharing the results of this research with the broader public is irresponsible and serves only to undermine the integrity and  public trust in the federal government.”

Some employees within the government are already going rogue.  After the National Park Service tweeted pictures of the small crowd at Trump’s inauguration, the new president placed a temporary suspension on its Twitter accounts.  Now some anonymous individuals within the Park Service have set up an unofficial Twitter account that Trump can’t touch.  The AltUSNatPark-Service has come out against Trump’s executive order to revive the Keystone XL pipeline, told followers to protest efforts to sell off federal lands, and encouraged a march of scientists on Washington.

An article in the Boston Globe today reports that several  other Twitter accounts are taking on the president’s actions.  The Badlands National Park defiantly posted messages about climate change, including one saying: “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years.”  The National Park Service proceeded to delete the tweets a few hours later, claiming they were done by an ex-employee not authorized to use the account.

Another Twitter account, for the Redwood National and State Parks, messaged about the benefits of redwood groves for capturing carbon.

A call to arms is going out.  There’s a new website, “Scientists’ March on Washington,” which says: “There are certain things that we accept as facts with no alternatives.  The Earth is becoming warmer due to human action….Politicians who devalue expertise risk making decisions that do not reflect reality and must be held accountable.  An American government that ignores science to pursue ideological agendas endangers the world.”

The march is still in the organizing stage, but the Facebook page now has 220,000 members and the Twitter account more than 112,000 followers.  You can check out what’s happening at the links below:

Twitter: @ScienceMarchDC
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1862739727343189/
Reddit: /r/scientistsmarch
Get Email Updates
To help: https://goo.gl/forms/zAdY02dBEz3Ykii42
Contact: scientistsmarchonwashington@gmail.com

6 Comment

  1. Yayyyyy!!! Resistance lives!!! Hopefully EPA employees will be able to convert the climate change information on their website to another public forum not officially linked to government policy. Freddie and I can provide a free website hosting service! But of course there are tons of environmental org websites that would be happy to display this info as well.

  2. Richard Guerin says: Reply

    I am sure the slow, dark, creeping gag system will cover all government vebsites asap. So this is what people feel when a dictatorship begins to replace their freedom with alternatives.

  3. The greed and ignorance behind the Trump regime is not surprising. It is hastening forth the ruination of our precious and vital natural environment, as they promised.

    What is shocking is that they don’t even consider that their own children and subsequent generations will suffer the destruction of the planet too. This is greed at a pathologically monumental level.

  4. Richard Guerin says: Reply

    This is what people must feel like when a dictatorship starts to replace their freedom with alternatives. Gag the truth and replace it with bullshit.

  5. Just went to the scientist’s march website and signed up. Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Dick.

  6. Just checked the EPA website on climate change at: epa.gov/climate

    It’s still up and running on Friday January 27, 2017 and is quite good and very informative. Copy and paste and circulate as widely as possible while you still can.

    Consider this a note in a bottle to some future age (next week?) when Grupenfuhrer Bannon has eliminated it.

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