Keep Quiet, EPA Enforcement Official Tells Staff

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The Environmental Protection Agency makes it almost too easy. These posts practically write themselves with an agency that claims this motto:

Protecting human health, safeguarding the environment

but, under the Bush administration, actually:

A) ignores or downplays “human health concerns”

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B) placing budgetary concerns over environmental health risks (illegally, too!) and operating under a veil of secrecy.

This long, winding road of refusal to address greenhouse gas emissions is unfolding like a bad reality show or a trashy novel, and check out the latest chapter from the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. PEER has uncovered and released a memo (How they got it, I don’t know) the EPA sent to its employees, telling them not to answer questions from reporters, the EPA’s own inspector general’s office (an independent watchdog group), or the Government Accountability Office (nonpartisan investigators in Congress).

Not only that, but if the 11 compliance assurance division managers on the receiving end of the memo were contacted with questions, their chief of staff, Robbi Farrell, wrote they should forward those questions to specific, senior EPA officials.

Now, everything I’ve read has EPA press director Roxanne Smith attempting to explain the memo away as a measure to coordinate responses for “efficiency* purposes, but it’s interesting how this came to light as Congressional committees are pushing the EPA on global warming and EPA head Stephen Johnson refuses to talk to them about it.

This is a government agency that, right now, listens to politicians more than its own scientists when it regulates (or doesn’t) and sets national environmental standards to protect public health listens to politicians over actual scientists. That’s a scary scenario even if you don’t have to worry about clean air for an asthmatic child.

Here’s more to keep you up at night:

889 EPA Scientists Report Political Manipulation of Their Work

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