According to this article Sean Spicer, White House Spokesperson says:

“They haven’t been directed by us to do anything”

According to this AP report:

The Trump administration has instituted a media blackout at the Environmental Protection Agency and barred staff from awarding any new contracts or grants.

Emails sent to EPA staff since President Donald Trump's inauguration on Friday and reviewed by The Associated Press detailed the specific prohibitions banning press releases, blog updates or posts to the agency's social media accounts.

These seem pretty contradictory. Who is correct?

Related: Is Donald Trump forcing the EPA to take down all climate change information?


1 Answer 1


ProPublica reports that a wide ranging freeze has be instituted at the EPA. It quotes Myron Ebell, the head of the EPA transition team as saying:

They’re trying to freeze things to make sure nothing happens they don’t want to have happen, so any regulations going forward, contracts, grants, hires, they want to make sure to look at them first.

This may be a little wider than some previous administrations, but it’s very similar to what others have done

ProPublica also reports that multiple anonymous EPA employees have confirmed the existence of such memo.

Here is a Fox News report based on anonymous sources that confirms the blackout. Fox News is also quoting Ebell's statements to ProPublica in regards to the contract freeze. It's not exactly clear how the two are related, but my guess is that the media blackout was a part of a larger directive that also included a freeze on contracts and grants.

It appears Sean Spicer is incorrect.

  • 2
    A freeze on new grants/contracts and hiring is not the same as a media blackout? Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 19:06
  • @USER_8675309 Ebell was trying to argue that a gag order was not uncommon when a new administration comes to office.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 19:10
  • @DanGetz I found the ProPublica reference in another article that was about the media blackout, but wanted to post a link to the original. I'm adding the second article as well.
    – ventsyv
    Commented Jan 26, 2017 at 22:54

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