President Trump places EPA under gag order

President Donald Trump as placed the Environmental Protection Agency under a gag order. The order effectively bans EPA employees from providing updates on social media or to reporters, and bars awarding new contracts or grants.

"I just returned from a briefing for Communication Directors where the following information was provided. These restrictions are effective immediately and will remain in place until further direction is received from the new Administration’s Beach Team. Please review this material and share with all appropriate individuals in your organization. If anyone on your staff receives a press inquiry of any kind, it must be referred to me so I can coordinate with the appropriate individuals in OPA.

"No press releases will be going out to external audiences.

"No social media will be going out. A Digital Strategist will be coming on board to oversee social media. Existing, individually controlled, social media accounts may become more centrally controlled.

"No blog messages.

"The Beach Team will review the list of upcoming webinars and decide which ones will go forward.

"Please send me a list of any external speaking engagements that are currently scheduled among any of your staff from today through February. Incoming media requests will be carefully screened.

"No new content can be placed on any website. Only do clean up where essential.

"List servers will be reviewed. Only send out critical messages, as messages can be shared broadly and end up in the press.

"I will provide updates to this information as soon as I receive it.,” a memo from an EPA staffer states.

The Trump administration also instructed officials at the EPA to freeze its grants and contracts.

“New EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately.

“Until we receive further clarification, which we hope to have soon, please construe this to include task orders and work assignments," an email sent to employees in the agency’s Office of Acquisition Management states.

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said on Tuesday that these measures were possibly put in place due to the EPA violating its own policy regarding this area.

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