The first amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” Well, we might need to revise that a little considering the Trump administration has issued a media blackout at Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA Staff received emails prohibiting press releases, blog updates and posts to social media. Along with the emails, EPA staff is unable to award new contracts or grants. There is also a temporary suspension of new business activities. As if it didn’t get any more ridiculous, EPA’s public affairs staff is instructed to forward all reporter inquiries to the office of Administration and Resources Management. Similar emails were sent to the departments of Transportation, Agriculture and Interior.
Chuck Schumer of New York said the Trump administration should reverse the blackout. He describes the decision as damaging to communities across the country. It will delay lead testing for schools. This will restrict efforts to keep drinking water safe and clean because there will be a freeze in the funding on the toxic brownfield sites. It doesn’t seem like much thought was put into this decision.
How did we get here? How did we get to a point where we are unable to practice free speech? As a result of this order, EPA Staff morale has decreased even more. How can we have media blackouts of important environmental information when President Trump can tweet (lie) freely all over the internet? Just because President Trump believes climate change is a hoax by the Chinese, does not mean EPA should be silenced.
This media blackout and grant freezing is a controlling way of leading our country.