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EPA’s policy of “equal opportunity censorship” on display

November 13, 2009

When a couple of married U.S. EPA attorneys working in Nancy Pelosi’ s backyard of San Francisco produced a YouTube video to point out flaws in the proposed cap and trade bill, the U.S. EPA hierarchy became unhinged.

The Wall Street Journal’s Kimberly A. Strassel wrote an excellent piece today featuring the agency’s reaction to their employees’ video project/political statement.  

Give the Environmental Protection Agency credit: At least it practices equal opportunity censorship of its employees.

Dr. Alan Carlin, a 37-year agency veteran, was muzzled earlier this spring. Dr. Carlin offered a report poking holes in the science underlying the theory of manmade global warming. His superior, Al McGartland, complained the paper did “not help the legal or policy case” for Team Obama’s decision to regulate carbon, told him to “move on to other issues,” and forbade him from discussing it outside the office.

Now come Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, married, and each with more than 20 years tenure at the EPA. They too are dismayed by Democrats’ approach to climate, though for different reasons. Dedicated environmentalists, they created a 10-minute YouTube video arguing Congress’s convoluted cap-and-trade bill was a “big lie” that is too weak. They instead propose imposing taxes, lots of them, on fossil fuels.

After the couple published an accompanying op-ed, an EPA ethics official contacted the couple with an offer they couldn’t refuse: Take down the video or face disciplinary action.

Meet the Obama EPA, and its new suppressing, paranoid style. It was the president who once ripped the Bush administration for silencing scientific critics, and it was EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson who began her tenure promising the agency would operate like a “fishbowl.” But that was before EPA realized how vastly unpopular is its plan to usurp Congress and regulate the economy on its own, based on its bizarre finding that CO2 is a danger to health.

Faced with unhappy members of Congress, dissenting employees, an opposition business community, and a backlash on the science, Mrs. Jackson is no longer a fan of open government. The goal now is to rush the agency regulations through as quickly as possible, squashing threatening dissent and deflecting troublesome questions.

Do we have issues with the EPA?  You bet.  

And in the near future, I will attempt to outline them here one-by-one.   While we certainly don’t agree in any way with the message of the video (other than “cap and trade is a huge mistake”), we do support a healthy dialogue without fear of retaliation or retribution.   

The EPA’s unfortunate handling of this video and the agency’s apparent desire to regulate everything that moves  only underscore what we’re up against in the years to come.

By the way, the couple did take down their video.  An environmental group that shares their views reposted it on YouTube.    Meanwhile, the couple says they’ll make the changes EPA has demanded when the 19 year-old who helped them produce the video comes home for Thankgiving break.

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