This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
It’s been a hand-wringing, hair-pulling week among the rank and file of many federal bureaucracies, perhaps best epitomized by the ongoing battle at the Environmental Protection Agency. The new administration’s actions amount to a vote of “no confidence” in the agency’s mission: Trump appointed a prominent climate change skeptic to head the agency’s transition, and his nominee for EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, is a man who brags about his yearslong efforts to undermine the EPA as attorney general of Oklahoma. In spite of this, several leaked communications obtained by Slate suggest that Trump’s transition team is attempting to frame the anxiety emanating from the agency as normal transition woes, rather than serious concern for the future of the agency. Given the number of leaks already emanating from the agency, these attempts don’t seem to be working.
It was no great surprise when news reports began surfacing last week of a clampdown at the agency: a freeze on all hiring, grants, and spending; a complete gag order; and rumors that various websites and... Read more