WASHINGTON — The Environmental Protection Agency is telling its pollution enforcement officials not to talk with congressional investigators, reporters and even the agency's own inspector general, according to an internal e-mail provided to the Associated Press.
The June 16 message instructs 11 managers in the EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance, the branch of the agency charged with making sure environmental laws are followed, to remind their staff members to keep quiet.
"If you are contacted directly by the IG's office or GAO requesting information of any kind . . . please do not respond to questions or make any statements," reads the e-mail—28—7—gag—order.pdf sent by Robbi Farrell, the division's chief of staff. Instead, staff members should forward inquiries to a designated EPA representative, the memo says.
Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility obtained the e-mail and provided it to the AP. The group is a nonprofit alliance of local, state and federal professionals. Its website carries the slogan, "Protecting Employees Who Protect Our Environment."