EPA Tells Staff to Keep Quiet, Play Dumb with Regulators, Press

Accountability? What's that?

The Environmental Protection Agency has told its staff not to answer questions from the agency's internal watchdog, news reporters or the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, according an internal memo that an environmental group released Monday.

This makes perfect sense, of course. I mean, it's not as if Congress or the press would have any reason to actually question any of the EPA's past decisions. As Lloyd recently pointed out, the EPA's (which stands for "Evidence of Pollution is Annoying") prime objective under the Bush administration has been to obfuscate on all matters pollution and climate change. Indeed, Roxanne Smith, an EPA spokeswoman, actually told McClatchy's Renee Schoof that this is "consistent with existing policies." In other words, not doing part of your job is part of the job description at the EPA! Here's the memo, which was obtained by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, in all its gory details:

Robbi Farrell/DC/USEPA

/US 06/16/2008 11:22 AM

To

Betsy Smidinger/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Christopher Knopes/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

David Hindin/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

James Edward/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Karin Koslow/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Kenneth Gigliello/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Linda Flick/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Lorna Washington/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Michael Alushin/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Richard Colbert/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

Robert Mcnally/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA

cc

Lisa Lund/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

David Hindin/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA,

David Piantanida/DC/USEPA/US(at)EPA

Subject PLEASE REMIND STAFF re: RESPONDING TO GAO, IG AND PRESS

Please remind your staff at your next staff meeting of the following policies and procedures.

1. If you are contacted by a reporter, please forward the call or email to Laura Gentile and Roxanne Smith, cc Robbi. Please do not respond to questions or make any statements.

2. If you are contacted directly by the IG's office or GAO requesting information of any kind, please forward their call or email to Gwen Spriggs, cc Robbi. Please do not respond to questions or make any statements.

Thanks very much for your continued attention to these important procedures.

Robbi

This certainly wouldn't be the first time the EPA has tried to silence its own staff members or hide/destroy its documents. And remember this nugget from a report released by the Environmental Integrity Project examining the EPA's "regulatory" activity under Bush's tenure? Again, a shocker:

In reporting the findings, Eric Schaeffer, the director of the EIP, noted: "The bad news here is that it now costs less to pollute. Over the past five years under the Bush Administration's EPA and Department of Justice, environmental violators have been less likely to face court actions, be subject to criminal investigation, or pay civil or criminal penalties. There is one bright spot at the EPA: recent settlements that require polluters to spend billions of dollars to control emissions at power plants and refineries, or modernize sewage treatment systems."

It's all part of the Bush administration's master plan: Make the American electorate so distrustful of government agencies that it will never expect any meaningful action from them.

Via ::McClatchy Newspapers: EPA tells its staff: Don't answer watchdogs' queries (news website)

More EPA chicanery
::Houston Mayor Attacks EPA over Air Pollution
::White House Won't Open EPA Emails on Global Warming, Part Two: The Funnier Version
::EPA Drops the Value of an American Life Almost a Million Dollars

Tags: EPA