"The Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture have been placed under de facto gag orders by the Trump administration, according to documents obtained by news organizations.
The president has banned EPA employees from “providing updates on social media or to reporters,” according to interagency emails first obtained by the Associated Press, and barred them from awarding new contracts or grants as well. Trump is reportedly planning massive cuts and rollbacks for the agency.
This follows similar guidance to USDA employees, who were instructed in an internal memo obtained by Buzzfeed not to release “any public-facing documents” including “news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content” until further notice. Specifically the request was made to employees of the Agricultural Research Service, the USDA’s primary research wing, which is heavily involved in research regarding climate change.
In a statement Tuesday, the USDA called the email sent to staff “flawed” and said the proposed policy would be replaced. “This internal email was released without departmental direction, and prior to departmental guidance being issued,” the statement read. “ARS values and is committed to maintaining the free flow of information between our scientists and the American public.”