Trump bans EPA employees from giving social media updates

By Mallory Shelbourne 1/24/17 01:16 pm 

President Trump has banned employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from giving social media updates and speaking with reporters, according to The Associated Press.

The EPA ban comes amid other reports of agency staff being restricted from interacting the members of the Congress or the general public.

BuzzFeed reported Tuesday that the Department of Agriculture instituted a similar ban, telling its employees not to distribute information about research papers or to post on Twitter under the agency’s name. A Tuesday report in the Huffington Post said agency employees under the Department of Health and Human Services were told not to speak to public officials.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer declined to comment on the reports, saying that he wasn’t familiar yet with the specific reported bans. But Spicer said it was natural for a new administration to reconsider agency operations.

“I don’t think it’s anything surprise that when there’s an administration turnover, that we’re going to review the policy,” Spicer said.

The social media ban is part of a series of new restrictions at the EPA under the Trump administration. The Huffington Post reported Monday that EPA grants had been frozen, with agency employees barred from speaking of the matter.

Myron Ebell, who leads the Trump EPA transition, confirmed the grant freeze to ProPublica.

“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,” Ebell told ProPublica.

Trump’s pick for EPA director, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, has frequently challenged agency policy in court. 

The Trump administration reportedly told the Department of the Interior to stop tweeting from its accounts over the weekend after the National Park Service’s Twitter account retweeted a post about the crowd sizes at Trump’s inauguration Friday. The agency brought back its accounts on Saturday.

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