Lack of Transparency at EPA

Posted by Elizabeth Jennings at 9:01 am, August 19, 2014

The subject of EPA’s lack of transparency really struck a note with me a couple months ago when I read a piece in the Daily Caller about reporters being constantly frustrated with EPA’s failure to go on the record when coming out with a major climate rule.  According to the article, EPA held a background briefing call with reporters to discuss the next steps in their regulatory agenda but then wouldn’t answer any questions on the matters at hand. Who actually schedules a press call and then doesn’t take questions from credentialed media? It would be one thing if these were one-off calls, but scheduled “on-the-record” briefings where officials can’t be identified by name?  I can only wonder if that’s because people within EPA are afraid that their facts are wrong or that they don’t dare get any personal ink for fear of internal retribution. Regardless of the answer, it’s bizarre and interestingly not a new thing.

Apparently, EPA has had these non-credible background briefing calls since the days of Administrator Lisa Jackson. My favorite quote in Mike Bastasch’s article is from Beth Parke from the Society of Environmental Journalists: “We journalists are personally accountable for what we report about EPA’s actions. Why aren’t your staff members just as accountable for what they tell us? End this insidious practice, which only reinforces public cynicism about a nameless, faceless, feckless federal bureaucracy.”

Unfortunately for EPA, Bastasch’s piece wasn’t the last article on the matter. In July, there was another story about EPA taking three months to respond to reporters and failing to give an “on the record” interview with Janet McCabe. In August, there was an Associated Press article about EPA’s scientific advisors not being allowed to speak with the media, and having their media requests being funneled elsewhere. It seems EPA doesn’t want to accept all of the consequences of their radical regulations, which includes speaking on the record to members of the press regarding said regulations. If the EPA is so confident that their agenda will stand up to the light of day, why aren’t they letting the sunshine in? Considering the fact that thanks to these ill-conceived regulations American jobs and competitiveness will be lost and that all of us will pay the ultimate cost of skyrocketing electricity prices and questionable power when it is most needed, I understand why they are hiding in the shadows. Trust me folks, that’s where I’d be too.

 


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