Over the past few days, the Environmental Protection Agency has been slapped with new media guidelines, expected to be hit with $800 million in budget cuts, and will have its current data on the agency’s website subject to political review. President Trump is reining in the agency, which was accused of overreach during the Obama presidency, specifically with its regulations on carbon emissions, power plants, and coal. The EPA is undergoing a facelift and some are not happy about it. ProPublica reported that EPA employees are coming into work in tears:
So far, Trump’s remodeling efforts have been both dramatic (nominating Oklahoma attorney general and fossil-fuel ally Scott Pruitt to head the agency) and quietly tactical (freezing all EPA contracts and grants).
At EPA headquarters, the mood remains dark. A longtime career communications employee said in a phone interview Tuesday that more than a few friends were “coming to work in tears” each morning as they grappled with balancing the practical need to keep their jobs with their concerns for the issues they work on.
To be sure, the EPA is an agency where information has been tightly controlled for many years, including under the Obama administration, which was harshly criticized by the Society of Environmental Journalists in 2013 for having “taken secrecy to a new level.”
The EPA’s sheer size, with 10 regions and more than 14,000 employees, guarantees some level of confusion, as well. From headquarters through the regional offices, employees said they still hadn’t confirmed if a freeze on work under hundreds of existing contracts, described in a headquarters memo acquired on Monday by ProPublica, applied to vital actions like responding to spills.
So, while the details of the order regarding contracts are being clarified, let’s not forget that Middle America has been crying for the past eight years, as Obama’s war on coal has led to coal miners being laid off, which led to the destruction of local economies. So, spare me the sob stories from government bureaucrats.