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Trump imposes gag order on the EPA and USDA

The Trump administration is placing an immediate gag order on offices within the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to an internal email an anonymous source within the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) sent to BuzzFeed News, scientists within the office are now under an indefinite gag order. The ARS hasn’t tweeted since prior to Donald Trump’s inauguration.

“Starting immediately and until further notice, ARS will not release any public-facing documents,” wrote ARS chief of staff Sharon Drumm. “This includes, but is not limited to, news releases, photos, fact sheets, news feeds, and social media content.”

The ARS is responsible for conducting research into problems facing agriculture, like the advent of genetically modified food and pesticide use, as well as climate change’s effects on the nation’s food supply. Former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue, whom Trump has nominated to head the USDA, is a well-known denier of climate science, claiming “liberals have lost all credibility when it comes to climate science.” However, as of this writing, Perdue has not yet been awarded a degree in climate science by any university accredited by the Institution of Environmental Sciences.

In addition to the gag order on the ARS, the Trump administration has also ordered the EPA’s grant programs to cease all communication with the public. According to its website, the EPA provides grants for everything from air quality research, to Great Lakes research, biodiesel research, environmental justice, and clean energy technology research for small businesses.

The Huffington Post reported that the gag order was leaked to an anonymous source on Capitol Hill by another anonymous source within the EPA, who refused to identify themselves, fearing retaliation.

“I will say, it’s pretty unusual for us to get these kinds of anonymous contacts from people at the agency,” the Hill source told the Post.

President Trump tapped former Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt — who has sued the EPA multiple times over environmental regulations — to head the EPA. The Senate has yet to confirm his appointment.

Via Tom Cahill for USuncut

Tom Cahill is a writer for US Uncut based in the Pacific Northwest. He specializes in coverage of political, economic, and environmental news. You can contact him via email at [email protected], or follow him on Facebook.

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