By Donna Westfall – January 25, 2017 – In addition to the hiring freeze at the federal level (except for military), Trump has placed a ban on Environmental Protection Agency employees sending out press releases, posting on social media, creating new blog posts or posting new content to their website.
Before you get your nickers twisted up, consider this: Myron Ebell, leader of the EPA transition for the Trump administration, confirmed the freeze, telling ProPublica that the actions were not unprecedented. “They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first,” said Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free-market, industry-backed group that has long fought the EPA. “This may be a little wider than some previous administrations, but it’s very similar to what others have done.”
Do you recall the brouhaha a few years back when former Crescent City, two-time Mayor, Kelly Schellong, worked for BiCoastal Media, (KCRE/KPOD radio station)? She and former Mayor Charles Slert, were caught in a scandal for denigrating some downtown merchants by suggested not doing business with them. The problem? Schellong was using her email account at work and was reamed out by management. Within months she no longer worked there. Apparently all has been forgiven because she’s back and now the Sales Manager.
So, is it worrisome for our new President to stop EPA employees from blabbing on social media? We’ll have to wait and see.
Let’s enumerate some of the problems we’re already familiar with at the EPA:
- For 60 years they expounded the virtues of adding fluoride to drinking water until 2011, they finally admitted that children were overexposed to the toxic chemical, it caused fluorosis – the spotting of teeth which is the first sign of fluoride poisoning – and officially reduced the amount put into the water.
- Smoking and second hand smoke. Remember the 1999 movie, The Insider with that famous phrase by Brown & Williamson tobacco company scientist turned whistleblower, Jeffrey Wigand (played by Russell Crowe), “We’re in the nicotine delivery business?” It was known in the 1960’s that smoking was additive and caused cancer. Then try reading through 237 pages of a report on Passive Smoke: The EPA’s Betrayal of Science and Policy.
- Pesticides. Remember the wonder pesticide DDT that was touted to be safe and effective until Rachel Carson enumerated the hazards in her book Silent Spring? President Kennedy convened a committee to review the evidence Carson presented. The committee’s review completely vindicating her findings. One of the new EPA’s first acts was to ban DDT, due to both concerns about harm to the environment and the potential for harm to human health. There was also evidence linking DDT with severe declines in bald eagle populations due to thinning eggshells. Since DDT was banned in the U.S., bald eagles have made a dramatic recovery.A group called The Center for Environmental Health, Beyond Pesticides and Physicians for Social Responsibility sued the EPA twice (2006 and 2014) to reveal and eliminate 300 inert ingredients from approved pesticides.
- Herbicide – Glyphosate – used in Monsanto’s Round-Up product, but it’s killing off the bee population and approved by the EPA. From the EPA website: “Glyphosate products can be safely used by following label directions. Glyphosate is no more than slightly toxic to birds and is practically nontoxic to fish, aquatic invertebrates, and honeybees.”