The Trump administration is putting a tight leash on the Environmental Protection Agency. A new sheriff is in town. In a memo from the EPA, it outlines, “No press releases will be going out to external audiences, incoming media requests will be carefully screened, now social media will be going out (it noted a digital strategist will be coming onboard to handle that aspect of communications), and that no new content can be placed on any website. Only do a clean up where essential.”
EPA memo says agency is not allowed to issue press releases, add new content on websites, or post on social media - Huffington Post pic.twitter.com/3lJSk5BoFi— BNO News (@BNONews) January 24, 2017
The Trump administration has instructed officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to freeze its grants and contracts, a move that could affect everything from state-led climate research to localized efforts to improve air and water quality to environmental justice projects aimed at helping poor communities.
An email went out to employees in the agency’s Office of Acquisition Management within hours of President Trump’s swearing-in on Friday.
“New EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately,” read the email, which was shared with The Washington Post. “Until we receive further clarification, which we hope to have soon, please construe this to include task orders and work assignments.”
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
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer did not go further into this development, as it was breaking news at the time he entered the briefing room. He did add that these strict measures were possibly put in place due to the agency violating its own policy regarding this area. Regardless, it appears this is the first step to the EPA’s de-politicization.