EPA Employees Warned About Speaking Publicly

Silencing Science Tracker

EPA Employees Warned About Speaking Publicly

In February 2017, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of General Counsel sent an email to staff stating that they are free to speak their minds, but must not forget federal ethics rules when doing so. Union officials believe the memo places undue restrictions on staff’s first amendment rights. The officials expressed particular concern about portions of the email indicating that staff should not give “undue prominence” to their work position or title and warned that speaking out came with the threat of disciplinary action.

The email followed an earlier memo, sent by the Trump transition team in January 2017, directing agency staff not to send out press releases, post on social media or blogs, or update websites, and to consult with senior officials before speaking to the media.

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