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
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. On Monday, the Huffington Post reported that EPA grants had been frozen, with agency employees barred from speaking of the matter. The memo ordering the social media blackout is shown below.
Cited by The Hill, Myron Ebell, who leads the Trump EPA transition, confirmed the 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.
Trump’s pick for EPA director, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has frequently challenged agency policy in court.
The Trump administration reportedly told the Department of the Interior to stop tweeting from its accounts over the weekend 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.
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.
As such, it appears that the first intra-agency vendetta for the new president has broken out not surprisingly with the agency that is most at risk from Trump’s upcoming policy changes, and which was catalyzed by the EPA’s role in the bizarre media scandal over the “participation” in Trump’s inaguruation rally. The EPA has yet to make an official statement.
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