Tag Archives: Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility

Giving ‘Upper Hand to Corporate Polluters,’ EPA Drops Surprise Inspections

The agency “is just chucking aside any flimsy pretense that they care about upholding environmental laws, enforcing against big polluters, or protecting Americans,” says one observer.

By Andrea Germanos, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 7-19-2019

Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County (Sherco) Generating Station, a coal-fired power plant, near Becker, Minnesota. Photo: Tony Webster/Wikimedia/CC

President Donald Trump’s EPA is provoking criticism once again, this time over a new “no surprises” policy stopping unannounced visits to power, chemical, and waste facilities.

“The Trump @EPA is just chucking aside any flimsy pretense that they care about upholding environmental laws, enforcing against big polluters, or protecting Americans,” tweeted John Walke, Clean Air Director and senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Giving a courtesy heads up to suspected *ongoing* lawbreakers is beyond the pale even for the Trump @EPA.” Continue reading

Share

Emulating the CIA, New Rule Would Let Trump’s EPA Disregard FOIA Requests With Near Impunity

“They want to box everyone out of the process who might call their policies into question.”

By Julia Conley, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 6-25-2019

EPA headquarters in Washington. EPA/Flickr

The Trump administration is set to introduce a new rule, without giving the public a chance to weigh in, which will allow officials at the Environmental Protection Agency to deny information requests—similar to how the CIA does so—by falsely claiming requested records are unavailable.

A rule, signed by EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler, will expand agency officials’ authority to reject a FOIA request by labeling it as “non-responsive,” meaning the agency has decided to withhold the requested records or has claimed certain exemptions from FOIA. Continue reading

Share

Under Cover of Shutdown, Trump Admin Quietly Moves to Deprive ‘American People of Their Right to Know What Government Is Doing’

Critics warn proposed changes to how the Interior Department handles FOIA requests “are designed to facilitate more official stonewalling and delays in producing public records.”

By Jessica Corbett, staff writer for Common Dreams. Published 12-31-2018

Outgoing Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in 2016, when he served as a congressman for Montana. (Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/cc)

Amid the chaos of the ongoing government shutdown and winter holidays, critics on Monday are calling out the Trump administration for quietly moving to make it harder for the public to find out what goes on behind closed doors at the U.S. Department of the Interior.

proposed new rule (pdf) filed to the Federal Register on Friday would enable the department—which, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has been responsible for pushing through President Donald Trump’s widely condemned regulatory rollbacks—to ignore public records requests that officials deem too “unreasonably burdensome.” Continue reading

Share