President Trump has banned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing updates and speaking with reporters.
According to various media outlets, the agency officials have been barred from posting social media updates, blog updates, as well as releasing press releases.
The Trump Administration already ordered “temporary suspension” of grants to the EPA. Emails sent to EPA staff show that all incoming media requests would be “screened” by the administration.
Two other agencies – including the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services – have been also ordered to stop “any correspondence to public officials”.
Myron Ebell, who ran the EPA during Trump’s transition, confirmed the ban.
“They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen,” Ebell said, “so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first”.
“This may be a little wider than some previous administrations, but it’s very similar to what others have done.”
Advocates, however, are worried about the move. They believe that the freeze could hurt scientific research.
“Any effort to stop a scientific agency from responding to congressional, federal, state and local inquiries has a chilling effect,” Bob Cord, director of public affairs at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, was quoted as saying by the Huffington Post.
Source: The Independent