"EPA Directs Employees Not to Talk to the Press"

"Agency faces criticism of hypocrisy after promising new era of transparency."

"The Environmental Protection Agency is reminding employees not to engage with members of the media, sending a memorandum this week instructing them to deflect any press inquiries.

The guidance came after EPA Administrator Michael Regan earlier this year sent employees a memo of his own pledging to bring transparency to the agency and reinstate a “fishbowl” environment. In that memo, however, Regan similarly instructed employees to follow EPA’s “internal deliberative processes” in dealing with the press. Still, the latest update from management irked watchdog groups who said the policy ran contrary to an ethos of transparency.

The new memo came from EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics to remind employees of their responsibilities when contacted by a member of the press.

“Please remember that we are not authorized to answer press questions directly, and that OPPT (and EPA) have processes that should be followed should someone reach out to you,” said Alison Pierce, chief of staff to the office."

Eric Katz reports for Government Executive July 8, 2021.


"Are EPA Scientists Allowed to Talk with a Reporter?" (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility release)

"Reminder: What to Do When You Are Contacted by the Press" (EPA OPPT)

Regan April 12, 2021, "Fishbowl Memo" (EPA)

"EPA Scientific Integrity Policy — Good Journalism and Good Science Need Lots of Light" (SEJ WatchDog)

"EPA Science Integrity Overhaul a Chance To Get Media Access Right" (SEJ WatchDog)

"Biden’s EPA, Science Agencies, Face Test of News Media Openness" (SEJ WatchDog)

Feb. 3, 2021, letter to EPA Administrator Michael Regan (SEJ)

Source: Government Executive, 07/13/2021