The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has frozen all new grants and contracts and banned its employees from talking about it with the press or public.
President Donald Trump's administration has placed certain restrictions on several federal offices to keep some employees from communicating with the public through unofficial channels, news reports said Tuesday.
During a daily briefing on Tuesday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to comment on the EPA ban in particular, reported The Huffington Post. The orders are expected to have a significant impact on the EPA as it holds contracts with outside vendors for services ranging from research to engineering. The prohibition came after the official account of the National Park Service, a bureau of the department, retweeted a pair of posts to its 315,000 followers that seemed to be a swipe at Trump on his initial day in office. The freeze includes the issuance of press releases and EPA social media accounts.
Maddow then referred to reports shortly after Trump's election indicating federal agencies-particularly those involved with scientific research-were actively backing up public-facing information in preparation for Trump's presidency.
But the move leaves a bad first impression for state agencies, whose authority EPA administrator nominee Scott Pruitt said he would elevate under Trump.
"Officials at sub-agencies of the Department of Health and Human Services, for example, have been told not to send "any correspondence to public officials" according to a memo shared with HuffPost".
"I will say it's pretty unusual for us to get these kinds of anonymous contacts from people at the agency, which makes me think it's unusual", they said.
The publication goes on to state that it received confirmation of the freeze from a veteran EPA worker who has spent more than 20 years with the agency.
Incoming media requests will be carefully screened.
Myron Ebell, Trump's appointee who oversaw the transition work at the agency and a climate change denier, confirmed the freeze in an interview with ProPublica, but claimed that it was not unprecedented.
An EPA employee told ProPublica that he had never seen anything like this freeze in almost a decade with the agency.
President Donald Trump reads an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on January 23, 2017.
"The contrast at least with the Obama administration is there weren't, as far as we heard, any gag orders - if anything, there were transparency policies", said Ruch.
Two days before Trump's inauguration, the EPA announced it is spending $95 million for wastewater projects in California, including $6.9 million in the Imperial Valley to help pay for upgrades to the sewage treatment plant in the city of Holtville.