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Claim that US publicly funded science can’t be shared now is false

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Via BeauHD at Slashdot:

Popular Science reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now barred from communicating with the public. [And early this morning, BuzzFeed revealed that] The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has banned scientists and other employees from sharing the results of its taxpayer-funded research with the broader public. Here.

However,

UDPDATE 1/24/17: The USDA has disavowed the memo sent to employees at its Agricultural Research Service unit. USDA’s deputy administrator, Michael Young, clarified that the gag order specifically applies to policy-related statements in press releases and interviews, which need to be vetted with the secretary of agriculture. He told The Washington Post that peer-reviewed scientific papers from the unit should not be blocked, nor should food safety announcements.More.

In short, the story isn’t true. Of course, no stable government permits junior civil servants to Just Imagine government policy in front of a mike somewhere. But so?

That said, in a world where US city officials have gone to war against residents drinking too much soda pop (the residents “evolved” to need coercion, you see), the story might be believed because, what else is new?

Wait! Wasn’t Popular Science one of the pop sci mags in the forefront of the move to eliminate comments to science news stories (as an alternative to screening them)?

So could these people please melt down in a private, not a public, place somewhere? The world has business—and science—to do.

See also: New Scientist author supports Popular Science shutting down comments.

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4 Replies to “Claim that US publicly funded science can’t be shared now is false

  1. 1
    Seversky says:

    According to the Christian Science Monitor website:

    An unnamed source within the EPA said Tuesday that the Trump administration had instructed staffers not to speak with news media or publish press releases or blog posts on social media for the time being. They were also told to avoid publicizing forthcoming conferences and presentations planned for the next two months – an order some say undermines their ability to fulfill their duties.

    The gag coincides with a freeze on EPA contracts and grants that do not apply to pollution cleanup or infrastructure. Even so, the freeze prompted confusion among Democrats and Republicans alike in states that depend on EPA funding. Michigan’s members of Congress, for instance, raised concerns over whether the Trump administration’s actions could interfere with aid to Flint, which has been reeling from a water supply contaminated with lead.

    The contracts and grants freeze and gag order at the EPA are still in force. Your headline is misleading.

  2. 2
    Dean_from_Ohio says:

    When Muslim terrorists hijacked four planes on 9/11/01, President Bush shut down the entire U.S. national airspace system until its safety could be assured.

    Environmental zealots hijacked the EPA to abuse U.S. citizens, increase the power of the Deep State, destroy the coal industry, foul lakes and rivers, and lie like a warehouse full of oriental rugs. If the EPA has to be shut down for a time to ensure the safety of the United States, so be it.

    If there is any blame to be assigned for any partial or full EPA shutdown, it is directly and completely the fault of the Marxists at the EPA during the Obama administration.

  3. 3
    john_a_designer says:

    Here is the latest about this so-called gag-order.

    On Tuesday, (1/24/17) “White House press secretary Sean Spicer… [said]that the administration is ‘looking into’ reports that federal employees at several agencies have been barred from speaking to the press or the public.

    Spicer said during an afternoon press conference that he was still learning about the details as the story was ‘just breaking as we’re entering the briefing room.’”

    “’I don’t think it’s any surprise that when there’s an administration turnover that we’re going to review the policies,’ he said, adding that he had ‘asked the team to go look at it.’”

    http://www.usnews.com/news/nat.....t-agencies

    On Wedensday, (1/25/17) he said, according to the U.K.’s Guardian,

    “That’s nothing that’s coming from the White House,” Spicer told the press… “They haven’t been directed by us to do anything…”

    Over the administration’s first few days, at least five federal agencies including the EPA and Department of Agriculture (USDA) were reportedly directed to cut down on their publishing of public content, specifically to Twitter. The departments of health and human services (HHS), transportation (DoT) and interior (DoI) also received restrictive guidance.

    Some of the directives, such as the one received by the DoT, were a “recommendation” and apparently originated within the department. But according to the Associated Press, the one directed at the EPA was much more restrictive and originated within the administration itself.

    No matter their exact origins, the blackout orders were not government-wide. Representatives from several government agencies including the departments of justice and energy, as well as the Bureau of Labor Statistics, have confirmed to the Guardian that they had not been placed under any communications restrictions, including any involving social media.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/26/us-federal-agency-crackdown-epa-sean-spicer

    Where is the scandal here? I don’t see it.

  4. 4
    Seversky says:

    Dean_from_Ohio @ 2

    Environmental zealots hijacked the EPA to abuse U.S. citizens, increase the power of the Deep State, destroy the coal industry, foul lakes and rivers, and lie like a warehouse full of oriental rugs. If the EPA has to be shut down for a time to ensure the safety of the United States, so be it.

    So gagging the EPA is an anti-terrorist measure because it has been taken over by a conspiracy of environmentalists bent on destroying the country? Interesting conspiracy theory.

    On the other hand, we have plenty of evidence that neither individuals nor big corporations will do anything to preserve the environment unless they are made to. From the rubbish dumped at unregulated campsites to the slash-and-burn destruction of rain-forests to the pollution belched into the atmosphere by coal-burning industries which cause the terrible smogs in Beijing to the growing mass of plastic waste in the oceans to the toxic industrial waste products dumped wherever companies think they can get away with it to the growing cloud of debris in orbit around the Earth there is plenty of evidence that people will trash their environment unless there is someone or some organization tot make them clear up their own mess. Who’s going to stop all this if not something like the EPA? You?

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