Donald Trump's war against the environment continues. Yesterday the administration froze all grants and contracts at the EPA. It also barred the agency from sharing information with the public and the press as well as remove all references to climate change from its website. Now, NPR (which is also on the president's chopping block) reports that the administration plans to review any research coming out of the EPA on a "case by case" basis. This would effectively turn the White House into a gatekeeper standing between the EPA's research and the taxpaying public who fund it.
According to Doug Ericksen, head of communications for the Trump administration's EPA transition team, who spoke with NPR on Tuesday, scientists working for the EPA will likely have to undergo an "internal vetting process" during the transition period.
"We'll take a look at what's happening so that the voice coming from the EPA is one that's going to reflect the new administration," Ericksen told NPR. He did not specify on how long the rule would be in place. "We're on Day 2 here... You've got to give us a few days to get our feet underneath us," he incorrectly stated -- it's Day 5 and the transition team has had since November 9th to get its act together. Trump's EPA nominee, Scott Pruitt, who sued the agency more than a dozen times during his tenure as Oklahoma Attorney General, is still awaiting confirmation.
This new procedure would fly in the face of the agency's scientific integrity policy, which has been in place since 2012 and prohibits "all EPA employees, including scientists, managers and other Agency leadership from suppressing, altering, or otherwise impeding the timely release of scientific findings or conclusions." But then again, the Trump transition team has already signalled that long-standing rules -- as well as the definition of "facts" and basic decorum -- are open to reinterpretation.