"EPA's non-responsiveness in the Texas air pollution story is troubling because it keeps taxpayers in the dark about a critical issue."
"In February, after we published our first stories on the Eagle Ford, we began trying to answer that question [of fracking-related air pollution] by seeking on-the-record interviews with EPA officials in Washington, D.C., and Texas. Five months later, no such interviews have been granted.
Instead, EPA press officers have told us to put our questions in writing, an increasingly common response from federal agencies under the Obama administration. The process usually goes like this: A journalist calls the press office to schedule an interview but instead is told to submit written questions. Once these are in, a press officer gets answers from scientists or other officials and then crafts a written response. In most cases, nobody involved in the process—not even the EPA press officers—will agree to be quoted by name.
Journalists object to this policy because clarity and accuracy are easily compromised when they're forced to discuss complex issues through intermediaries who aren't subject-matter experts. To ask follow-up questions, the laborious process must begin all over again, with no opportunity for the natural give-and-take of a conversation."