Children's Health Report Released after Reporter Exposes OMB Blockade

January 30, 2013

Sunlight cures many ills. A month after watchdog Sheila Kaplan exposed a White House blackout of an EPA report on children's environmental health, the Obama administration uncorked it. Of course, the timing may have had something to do with the election as well.

In a December 21, 2012, piece for American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop, Kaplan documented how the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) blocked final publication of the third edition of "America's Children and the Environment" for 21 months. EPA finally announced its publication January 25, just a few days after the inauguration.

The incident bolsters the case of critics who argue that the Obama administration has in practice fallen short of its professed concerns for openness and environmental health -- which may be trumped by political expediency and industry lobbying. It also undermines the claims of OMB (an agency with little scientific expertise) to be the arbiter of federal science.