A memo leaked today orders all of the bureaus of the Department of Interior, which includes the Bureau of Land Management, US Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), Bureau of Indian Affairs, and others, to clear nearly every decision or correspondence with the Office of the Executive Secretariat and Regulatory Affairs (OES). Other departments such as the EPA have instituted similar gag orders. This sweeping gag order stops the bureaus from corresponding with entities ranging from tribal leaders, governors, and even Congress.

The contents of the memo are below and the memo is here

Memorandum
To: Chiefs of Staff, Bureaus and Offices
From: Julie Lillie, Director, Office of Executive Secretariat and Regulatory Affairs
Subject: Federal Register Documents and Correspondence Clearance Procedures

As we begin a new administration, it is important that the incoming policy team has an opportunity to review documents. Effective immediately, and in addition to your internal clearance processes, all Federal Register documents, including all notices, and all correspondence to or from the Secretary must be forwarded to the Office of the Executive Secretariat and Regulatory Affairs (OES) for review 5 days prior to any deadline for Departmental clearance, regardless of signature level. For Federal Register notices this includes, but is not limited to:

• any proposed or final regulation or policy action,
• notices of all meetings, including tribal consultation meetings,
• all notices related to NEPA documents
• information collection notices,
• FWS notices of low effect applications for permits,
• BLM notices of plat surveys, and
• BOEM quarterly notices of environmental documents prepared for the Gulf of Mexico Outer Continental Shelf.

In addition to the above, all incoming congressional and gubernatorial correspondence as well as correspondence from Indian or Alaska tribal leaders and leaders from national level environment/recreational and industry organizations must be forwarded to OES prior to responding, regardless of addressee or signature level. No correspondence should be cleared to go to Congress or to any Governor until it has been reviewed by the Acting Chief of Staff and/or Senior White House Advisor. The OES will be responsible for tasking these letters for response . The incoming leadership team will decide whether to continue or modify these instructions.

 
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About The Author

Ken Cole

Ken Cole, Western Watersheds Project’s Idaho Director, is a 5th generation Idahoan, an avid fly fisherman, wildlife enthusiast, and photographer. He is also serves as a member of the board of directors for Buffalo Field Campaign.

108 Responses to Leaked Memo Silences Department of Interior

  1. avatar Tom murphy says:

    This should be unconstitutional- I hope the courts are paying attention.

    • avatar Lariokie says:

      Uh, you mean the courts whose vacancies the Republicans refused to allow Obama to fill? It is going to be a long 2-4 years, and perhaps more if the Democrats don’t start acting like an opposition party (don’t hold your breath).

  2. avatar Ron Gowans-Savage says:

    Oh the parks are already speaking out, quite literally on this matter. Badlands NP spoke out first, but trust me, they will not be the last.

    Badlands National Park Goes Rogue On Twitter, Defies Trump’s Gag Order http://www.dailywire.com/news/12747/badlands-national-park-goes-rogue-twitter-defies-hank-berrien

    • avatar Mark L says:

      “Poor man wanna be rich,
      Rich man wanna be king,
      And a king ain’t satisfied,
      ’til he rules everything,”
      Badlands, Bruce Springsteen
      Hmm…The Boss tellin’ it like it is.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        +++

      • avatar Al says:

        Except that the office of President is a long way from being a king. The writers of the Constitution purposely limited the power of the President so that the person holding that office cannot rule as a dictator or monarch. The President’s power is limited. Trump, though, is incapable of making that distinction. He wants everything his way, and he will find ways to punish anyone and everyone who does not comply with his Executive Orders and Presidential Memoranda, which he is confusing with a king’s edict; and he will punish anyone who dares to speak out against him.

      • avatar Jessie James-Hawley says:

        Oh,Mark L., I do believe you hit the nail on the head. Can’t wait till Trump orders Marshall Law to control his opposition. Damn.

  3. avatar WM says:

    Some may disagree, but the purpose of such a putative offensive directive is to ensure the mission statement or philosophy of the New Administration is carried out from the top down at the very start. Bureaucrats at mid-levels make policy- they are the ones who draft rules and regulations and write management manuals, issue permits, or answer correspondence which may require policy interpretation. A friend of mine from years ago was a high level official in a federal department. He said, “I didn’t realize when I took the job [which required Senate confirmation], that even though I held the title, was given the big corner office (and a chauffer driven government limo in DC] and had started to draft new procedure and policy, bureaucrat policy contrary to the administration continued to spew out the bowels of the agency with great volume.”

    It makes no difference which political party has been in power or who is in charge at high levels, government bureaucracies are generally accountable to no one, and continue to make policy. And, that is precisely why there is a TEMPORARY lock down, not only at Interior, but also EPA where very costly and poorly vetted regulations are promulgated by bureaucrats who want to show they are doing something, but which do little to improve the environment for the amount of money spent by the regulated community, which in addition to industry include states, counties, cities and special districts.

    If you can get past the smell of this particular Administration as it begins to take power, the process of temporarily slowing things down is actually a best management practice, though I suspect most here would not agree.

    • avatar Connie Reppe says:

      To be in a perfect world to experience a newly elected president, rumor about him-himself and its WH administration that intimidate’s to incite anger and U.S. social strife leading to platforms of turmoil and censure, and noticed globally with interactive Int’l society upheavals that are in fact noted with a very high consensus in the U.S. nationally of populations being adversely affected of safety, and happiness because of the adverse philosophy of a new party’s banner in way’s of a radical indifference, to the nonjoining conformity with the former president’s administration policy’s. The new party’s group is looking clean, and attentive in the oval office of an elected Man whom is not bound by U.S. government experience, and has uncontrollable challenges to be further allowed without restraint,and oversight on each level, the privleges and immunities compelled to rule in erasing years of policies within a minute of haste, fast tracking executive power for the Constitutionality of the American “People”. This newly Electorial College elected president, would have you believe that the dominance of “things to be” in a perfect world has an effect perfected on an outcome for the rule, of federal funding the ruling of others, and the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution of Articles, constitutes, and defines impeachable offenses. Its said; The early bird catches the first worm. And, also by-the-way when had weather become Mary’s name?

      • avatar citizenw says:

        They have meds for that.

      • avatar Debbie king says:

        You need to stop with the run-on sentences.

        • avatar Clare Sieffert says:

          Thanks Debbie King for saying that. Punctuation and rules for what constitutes a sentence AND rules for dividing separate subjects into separate paragraphs are part of English grammar for very good reasons. They help one communicate clearly. I simply could not plow through Connie Reppe’s Comment. Whatever she had to say did not reach me.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      “If you can get past the smell of this particular Administration as it begins to take power”

      10 minutes in:

    • avatar Seha says:

      Well said. I feel right now it is necessary.

      • avatar timz says:

        Let’s see, Nazi’s broke windows, burned buildings, rioted in the streets, whose doing that now in the US. Democrats.

        • avatar timz says:

          Oh, and I failed to mention murder, like the wanton killing of police officers. Doubt those doing that were Trump supporters.

          • avatar Rich says:

            timz,

            Please share the sources for your contentions regarding Democrats breaking windows, burning buildings and murdering police. Are you just making that up like Trump who claims Mexico will pay to build the Great Wall of Trumpism and then pisses off President Pena Nieto, claims the XL pipeline project will employ 28,000 workers, lies about releasing his taxes, brags about grabbing women by the crotch and other lechery then denies it, wants to use torture on prisoners, uses Chinese steel in his buildings then claims he buys American made products, watches TV in lieu of daily reports prepared by staff, denies climate change and scientific research, rejects US intelligence reports regarding the unsavory behavior of his hero Putin, claims election fraud because he didn’t win the popular vote and now wants to use your tax dollars to investigate and the list continues to grow rapidly with every passing day another major gaffe. The only thing we know for sure is that Trump will not pay to build the wall as he doesn’t pay income taxes. Wake up to the fact that the guy is a flim-flam man whose big mouth has shown the world that he is a buffoon in just a few days since the inauguration.

            • avatar Nancy says:

              “Wake up to the fact that the guy is a flim-flam man whose big mouth has shown the world that he is a buffoon in just a few days since the inauguration”

              +++++++ Rich.

              • avatar WM says:

                How did this guy get elected? Answer from his policy advisor, Bannon and former Breitfart (Breitbart News) executive, to the press which kept saying Hillary was to be the new President in poll after poll after poll:

                “The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for awhile,” Mr. Bannon said during a telephone call.

                “I want you to quote this,” Mr. Bannon added. “The media here is the opposition party. They don’t understand this country. They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

                http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump%e2%80%99s-chief-strategist-says-news-media-should-%e2%80%98keep-its-mouth-shut%e2%80%99/ar-AAmhL9O?li=BBnb7Kz

                The point, here, is that there are a lot of pissed off Americans who are tired of PC conversations and the sometimes petty crusades and socialist leaning positions of the far left which made it into mainstream policy. Loretta Lynch, worst Attorney General ever, possibility of far left leaning Supreme Court appointments by Hillary if elected, and the real clincher which makes some folks cringe – crooked Hillary, and the sad part, at a gut level a lot of folks didn’t trust her. And, from my perspective, the far left was so committed to having a woman President they forgot to get a good candidate. The D’s did it to themselves and to all of us, and now look on in disbelief.

                Bannon nailed it – It’s the liberal press, stupid. They misread the pulse of America as reporters and corporate main stream media executives pushed their own agenda – absent objective reporting. Reporting was their real job, which got pushed aside, and now Trump is rightfully rubbing their noses in their own poop. Wall on the Southern border, do-overs on international trade agreements, regulatory backlash (even the wolf delisting thing), the federal government peeing on states. And, now, what will happen with some of the uber-rich in high level policy positions under Trump? How freaking long will it take to recover lost ground on environmental and wildlife issues after these monkeys mess it up taking things way further to the reactionary right than even I imagined – with both houses of Congress in the hands of the R’s?

                • avatar Immer Treue says:

                  WM, a lot of yin and yang there.

                • avatar timz says:

                  Spot on, Trump made this as much about the mainstream media as Hillary.

                • avatar WM says:

                  Nancy,

                  Mahrer is always good for a laugh. But, if my sense is most druggers (the heavy users) anyway don’t bother to vote. Heck they can’t even be bothered to pick their garbage or the mail.

                  And, as for the second article you link to regarding opiod medical shipments from manufacturers to pharmacy distributors, do recall the DEA is the regulator for that under the leadership of the Attorney General who works for the President. So, you can probably blame Obama and is hand-picked AG Loretta Lynch, who was more focused on civil rights than doing the rest of the people’s business. The DEA is within the Department of Justice. So, Mahrer and the NPR segment don’t even touch on failed enforcement efforts which have at least contributed to the drug and homeless crisis facing many communities and areas of our country. All I have to do is look a couple blocks down my street to see some of the effects of this, including constant property crimes committed by druggers to feed their constant need for the next “fix.”
                  _____

                  Immer, maybe I’m little dense this morning, without the second cup of coffee, and not picking up on the yin – yang reference. Care to elaborate?

                • avatar Nancy says:

                  Yeah but I don’t think were talking about “heavy or hardcore” drug users here, Timz. This is white, middle class America, the kind of folks that can line up dozens of doctors, sympathetic to their pain or depression.

                  Lots of links to the problem:

                  https://www.google.com/search?sourceid=ie7&q=+&rls=com.microsoft:en-US:IE-SearchBox&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&rlz=1I7TSNF&gws_rd=ssl#q=opioid+use+white+middle+america+

                • avatar Immer Treue says:

                  WM,
                  I guess your last paragraph.
                  I’ll also hazard a guess, that the Trump who was once pro choice, becoming a pro-life candidate (therein lies the hypocrisy of the republicans, pro life until you’re born, then you’re on your own). Just like “W”, it was a niché item that got him the evangelical vote.

                  People might not have wanted to trust Clinton, but what in the world was contained in the Trump track record that would warrant trust?

                • avatar Sonia says:

                  Biggot

                • avatar Kathleen Casey says:

                  Yeah, and there were a lot MORE people who didn’t vote for this guy. You all always forget that he LOST the popular vote by over 2.9 MILLION votes. And without the help of foreign interference and the head of the FBI he may well have the Electoral College.

                • avatar Louise Kane says:

                  WM re your first post.

                  I understand what you at getting at regarding the desire of any new administration’s to transition toward new policy that reflects its ideology.

                  But I don’t agree it is as simple or innocent as that in this particular administration. It is more than getting “past the smell”.

                  Having worked for NOAA in DC from the transition of Bill Clinton’s fist administration and then through GW’s first term I saw two administrations transfer much more coherently and transparently.

                  While you could not have found two more radically different Presidents, I do not remember sweeping gag type orders nor do I remember the type of deliberate thoughtless, intent to radically eviscerate regulations, policies, or laws.

                  The intent to hide information or make it impossible to acquire was also not implemented, at least as far as within the agency I worked.

                  As for your second post, you may be correct about the press being responsible for this mess we are in, but you did not account for the new paradigm of politics that was normalized during this past election.

                  Never before has it been acceptable to lie, be caught speaking about being entitled to grab pussy, demonstrate consistent lack of credibility, intellectual curiosity, intelligence and competence.

                  As the GOP spun Hilary Clinton into a cartoonish villain, they also hijacked the democrat’s platform and used it to obtain favor.

                  But they have lied, they have no intention of protecting the sorry constituency that have somehow been duped into thinking a billionaire with no prior connection to the little people or common man will protect them somehow or “make America Great Again”, a phrase that makes me want to vomit.

                  You indicate that liberals and Democrats are at fault here. But I don’t buy that. The Democrats are not to be faulted for their progressive platform which has always been concerned with social justice and equality and to some extent protecting the environment, at least in recent years.

                  Their big mistake was in not recognizing the new guerrilla warfare tactics that have been normalized by Trump and the GOP. The constant slander, lies, and fake news.

                  I believe you are correct in that the media is to blame for not providing more in-depth, quality coverage. But this has been coming for awhile. People spend their time watching reality television, with their noses in Facebook constantly.

                  Many do not understand the basics of our government. They watch debates that are presented like world championship boxing matches and they are impressed by snake oil salesman Trump pulled off the ultimate OZ but as the curtain reveals him, what will his followers do?

                  I object to the undertone of your post in that you use liberal as if it is slanderous, corrupted or problematic.

                  Being liberal is not shameful, nor is it the fault of liberals that a fear/hate mongering buffoon tapped into what seems to be a largely latent, discontented, ignorant, racist, constituency that willingly voted against their best interests.

                  Cheap slogans won’t “Make America great again” whatever that means.

                  People who drink the kool- aid die and when they try to escape they find there is none.

                  The liberals have been the ones championing their causes they are just too drenched in reality tv to recognize this.

                  PS conservatism as it has evolved is the enemy of the common man, not a liberal ideology.

                  why do conservatives routinely deny climate change, ignore human overpopulation as the most serious problem we face and work so hard to curtail the rights of others?

                  The Democrats and liberals need to learn to function in this new world of lies, repugnant reporting, fake news, and gross incompetence. They need to be less politically correct and to market themselves for what they are, defender of the little and common man. They have to prevent the GOP from stealing their platform and lying to the country.

            • avatar timz says:

              Since you are obviously not paying attention or just plain in denial here is one of dozens of stories about Clinton supporters, (Democrats I presume) rioting after the election. Do your own research from now on.
              https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2147684/violence-erupts-across-the-us-as-pro-clinton-fans-riot-after-donald-trumps-shock-election-win/

                • avatar WM says:

                  So, Nancy, do you suppose the authors should amend that Time story and the studies cited within, by adding the crew the took over the Malhuer Refuge FWS compound, and their claimed legitimacy of doing so?

                • avatar Nancy says:

                  http://katu.com/news/local/cleanup-underway-at-refuge-occupation-costs-rise-to-65-million

                  I think its a safe bet to say, few condone riots (and the aftermath) myself included, WM.

                  Most riots happen as a result of mounting, unaddressed frustration and this country (along with hundreds of other countries) have had their share of riots/protests.

                  The Bundy Bunch may of had charges dropped for the takeover but they damn well should of been made to pay for the damages at the refuge (over $6 million and counting)

                  Protestors in Washington, who were arrested for smashing windows, etc. should also be held accountable for damages. Course we probably will never know if they were just angry protestors who got out of hand, or paid help….

                  “While the perception of race riots is often of black rioting, the worst and most frequent race riots were whites against blacks. The worst such riot in US history was the New York Draft Riot, which killed 119 blacks and scarred the city of New York forever”

                  https://medium.com/message/how-white-people-got-made-6eeb076ade42#.861rlyj3h

              • avatar Rich says:

                timz,

                Your comments:

                “Let’s see, Nazi’s broke windows, burned buildings, rioted in the streets, whose doing that now in the US. Democrats”
                “Oh, and I failed to mention murder, like the wanton killing of police officers. Doubt those doing that were Trump supporters.”

                are more appropriate on an extreme right wing knuckle dragging blog where they will believe Democrats are “wantonly killing police officers” and the root of all evil. I think most folks that post here are smarter than that. This is after all a wildlife blog. I have never understood why you enjoy trashing Democrats on a wildlife blog. Blaming others for your problems and everything that you don’t like doesn’t make your life any better. Idolizing Trump along with the other star struck groupies and believing his promises to free you from oppression will likely lead to disappointment. If you want to do some real research, check out Trump’s record of broken promises, falsehoods, lawsuits and bankruptcies and post your unsupported whining and sniping on another blog.

                • avatar timz says:

                  When have I blamed others here for my problems and when have I idolized Trump? I enjoy bashing Democrats because most here bash Republicans, like to keep things fair. BTW I’m not a member of either party. So your caterwauling about me someone you have no clue about only makes you look like an angry ignoramus

                • avatar timz says:

                  BTW did you enjoy the link I posted with all the photos of Hillary supporters rioting, breaking windows and burning things?

              • avatar Jon says:

                please do not quote the Sun as publishing any legitimate news story… they have been proved time and time again to be complete liars who actively make up stories and have a very right wing agenda…..

              • avatar Yvette says:

                timz, you can thank WM for reminding me about the right-wing Bundy militia people that took over and damaged buildings, destroyed artifacts, filled wetlands and ruined our (as in federal) property. The right wingers love to be politically incorrect so I have started referencing these type of people what they are, White Radical Evangelical/Christian Terrorists, (WRETs) pronounced Rats. It’s true. They associate themselves with evangelical type protestant christianity; they love to tout the second amendment, but forget the first amendment and a good portion of these militia,and Planned Parenthood bombers are just as much terrorists as the 1.6 billion Muslims in the world.

                timz, you run your mouth about democrats destroying property but fail to mention the Bundy WRETs. And they still owe us over a million dollars in grazing fees and their poor neglected cattle are still destroying critical habitat.

                • avatar Kathleen says:

                  “…White Radical Evangelical/Christian Terrorists, (WRETs) pronounced Rats”

                  Yes, but that unfairly (and inaccurately) maligns rats, who are intelligent and show empathy!

                • avatar Nancy says:

                  This should surprise no one, given the “drift” of the new administration/politics/regime etc.

                  “Cullen says making Palin ambassador would be detrimental to Canada’s efforts to build a stronger relationship with the Trump administration.

                  He says it would be hard to take her seriously.

                  “She has never been very comfortable with the truth,” Cullen said Thursday.

                  *****”Couldn’t recognize it most mornings if it jumped up and knocked her on the head.”

                  Yeah, well, as many painfully know, its becoming the norm.

                  http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/cullen-angus-palin-ambassador-1.3974864

                • avatar timz says:

                  Typical Democrat crap, trying to justify a wrong by “well the republicans do it too” Yvette you always have been lame with your responses, no different in this case. The Bundy’s have been discussed here ad nauseam and if you look back I have spoke out plenty against them so it seems your the one running your mouth.

            • avatar Jessie James-Hawley says:

              Well said.

                • avatar timz says:

                  In all honesty I find the ignoring or attempts to justify the violence by the left on this supposed wildlife web site disturbing. A boy beaten for wearing a ” make america great again” hat, an autistic boy kidnapped and beaten all the while his assailants shouting f&*&* Trump, a man beaten unconscious at the Portland airport, the violence at Berkeley, the supposed home of free speech, simply because someone was speaking you don’t agree with and on and on. This is what Hitler and his people did so you could at least get your comparisons correct. Any violence should be condemned no matter whose doing it, not by comparing it to the right or left. Maybe Ralph could start a anti-trump section so those of us that are already sick of it could ignore it and stick to wildlife.

          • avatar Ondeg says:

            Guess what timz? The man who shot and killed to Des Moines, IA police officers a few months ago was a VERY VOCAL Trump supporter.

          • avatar Fred says:

            Timz, you’ve been bamboozled. The people you think are your friends are actually your enemies. Wait and you’ll see …

            • avatar timz says:

              I consider no politician my friend, any party, so STHFU you don’t know a thing about me. Shouldn’t you be out marching, throwing rocks at cops and breaking windows and such.

          • avatar Marcia Wiegand says:

            well maybe some of them were…they’re called criminals…not people of color, or muslims, or woman or Democrats…just criminals and there alot of Republicans in prisons with the same views as our current administration.

          • avatar John says:

            You mean like the Trump Supporter that just blew up a mosque???

        • avatar suki says:

          wrong. It’s not democrats burning mosques in Texas — it’s Trump supporters. It’s not democrats who are painting swastikas on buildings across the nation, it’s Trump supporters. Journalists jailed, media blackouts, religious discrimination, attacks on the free press etc. It’s not democrats who support the illegitimate fake president Trump, it’s the KKK and white-supremacists all under the umbrella of the Republican party. Peaceful protests, are not riots – but nice try at “alternative facts” and right-wing extremist propaganda. Peaceful protests, which the Democrats are engaging in and will continue to mount are one of the highest expressions of a democratic and free society. Trump and his goons will go. The emperor wears no clothes. You and others blind and ignorant support of him will be recorded in history as one of the most shameful and damaging moments in this great nations history.

        • avatar Debbie king says:

          During the Women’s March on Washington, there were no arrests. There have been some unfortunate incidents on both sides. People are frightened. So far, this administration has done nothing to mitigate that fear. Putting Steve Bannon on the NSC and dismissing the Joint Chiefs of Staff hasn’t helped either.

        • avatar Sue Hartmann says:

          You mean like the woman march protest, where almost three million people marched and there wasn’t one arrest?

          Get your facts straight, the only violence was committed by an anarchy group the night before, they would have done that no matter who was there. Quit drinking the kool ade and pay real attention to who’s actually doing what. It’s not the democrats, their protests have been legal and peaceful.
          Signed
          a registered independent.

          • avatar Bonnie Jean says:

            There was one arrest at the women’s march. Someone sprayed pepper spray at the women, and was arrested and charged with assault. This following is pasted from a review of the event in St. Paul:

            “We did a lot of work on the front end with the organizers,” said Steve Linders, a spokesman for the St. Paul Police Department. “We always put plans in place that allow us to staff appropriately should the numbers get bigger.”

            He said one counter-protester was arrested after a confrontation with protesters. Marchers told police the man who was arrested had sprayed a chemical irritant into the crowd.

        • avatar Annie says:

          Interesting how you can narrow it down to just democrats. I would tend to speculate that there are many people who might not even be aligned with a political party who are sick of this “President’s” radical moves so far.

        • avatar Jeorge Anne says:

          You sir are the reason men like Hitler write able to come to power. Dimly because you, and people who think like you, continue to normalize that ehichvis not normal. Trump is an emotionally challenged individual who suffers from the very same character disorder that Hitler did…namely NOD. His Chief Strategegoist, Cannon, is a White Nationalist, who is using Trump to destroy current American values and norms..while people like you think the end justifies the means. When this Republic becomes a Fascist state, because Cannon, admittedly is a Leninist, will you still normalize the Coup?

    • avatar Ruth Berge says:

      I haven’t found any evidence so far that any previous administrations have taken this action. On the face of it, your “friend”‘s story and your rational suffer from a fundamental flaw. The government belongs to the people and the communications being shut down are from scientific sections. There is no need to spin science. An open and honest government would be just that, open and up front. It appears that this administration doesn’t want to hear what our government scientists have to say. That is wrong.

    • avatar Sally says:

      Thank you! I appreciate your comment very much. I think many of us are on ‘high alert’ and deeply concerned. For me, ‘alternative facts’ was the tipping point into near panic.

    • avatar Tom says:

      Trump is doing what every new president has Done!
      NOT.
      You don’t gag scientists.
      The president is supposed to see the big picture.
      Not micromanage every fact.to make sure it doesn’t violate his beliefs.
      Facts don’t have a political party.

    • avatar Frieda Friendentia says:

      Mid level management understands the laws over each decision far better than any politician does or could, including in this case the President.

    • avatar Marcia Wiegand says:

      If you live on the Western shores of this great country the”slowing things down” when you need to be training some of the best fire-teams in the world for when the west, and especially California, is burning, as it annually does,it is frightening. Any delay in training for any emergency, especially in the great outdoors, are lives lost. The forest service does not set any policies that I know of, and so should not be included in the Party line policies.

    • avatar Mabel says:

      That would make sense in a sane administration. Which this one is decidedly not.

    • avatar Meg Wick says:

      Environmental regulations take years to write and are formed by extensive input from industry. You can read about the process for any EPA regulation. It is all available via FOIA.

    • avatar Em Q Davis says:

      As nicely reasoned as it is, your response does not reassure me. The elephant in the room is: How long does TEMPORARY last? How easy is it for the White House to drag its heels until TEMPORARY goes on for a year or more? While the TEMPORARY gag order/lockdown is in place, it would be easy for the administration to systematically replace all the key players with no one the wiser as they can’t talk about it!

    • avatar Kathleen Nyssen says:

      I’m inclined to agree with you,however this administration is not only categorically unqualified, its motives are suspect. With Steve Bannon and his ilk are at the helm, this administration will never garner the respect of people like me and my ilk.

    • avatar Carol Brown says:

      Thank you for a well stated and rational explanation. Makes sense.

    • avatar Ronald says:

      Incorrect – a 2008 Bush white house review of the cost/benefits of compliance to EPA regulation found a 5X return (look it up). So we are losing a 500% return if we do not follow EPA regulation. Regulations exist for a reason: they make a country wealthy, healthy, and prosperous. Can’t play ball without rules; that is chaos, and poverty.

    • avatar SC says:

      Government agencies are accountable. Law and policy are derived in a direct line from the Constitution and must be legally accountable. Agencies have missions to uphold which have been approved by Congress, and to do that work, need to issue policies and get the proper funding. Except for the most recent presidential orders, laws and policies are vetted with agencies and legal affairs are consulted to determine impacts and to stay within the law.Laws and policy are posted in the Federal Register for people to comment on. You need to learn more about how laws and policies are made before slamming government employees for doing their jobs.

  4. avatar Linda Horn says:

    I hope a lot of the insiders know about and will participate anonymously in Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). While I understand WM’s points, this total gag order is particularly nefarious, even if temporary. The proof will be if the agencies present provable lies (now called “alternative facts”) as truth when the gag order is finally lifted.

    http://www.peer.org/about-us/

  5. avatar Liz says:

    Call me a skeptic but I would like to see the original WITH a date. I agree with the poster above that it is probably SOP.

  6. avatar Ida Lupine says:

    I don’t know what to say, it seems like a nightmare. Censorship? Does this mean all communications have to be reviewed before the public sees them?

    If anyone hasn’t seen this PBS documentary about Rachel Carson (I watched it last night), it is worth watching. Outstanding, and frightening what she had to overcome to get this information to the public:

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/rachel-carson/

  7. avatar Salle says:

    This is censorship due to the delicate sensitivities of the new person at the top. How dare a government employee say, or worse twit, anything remotely unfavorable or simply not in praise of that person at the top. Queue the temper tantrum…

    Geeze, even as a NPS worker during a live shooting at another site we only got directives to not speak about the incident beyond a standard disclaimer not a complete silencing of all personne. That’s simply over the breech with regard to straight up crazy authoritarian. As a federal worker in several agencies, this is just unheard of and will not be received well nor will that many people be contained within such a directive. Not in this day and age.

  8. avatar Yvette says:

    In the 17 years I’ve worked for tribes with the majority of my salary grant based, I have never witnessed this level of micro-management.

    We’ve all seen or been through federal hiring freezes.
    We’ve seen forced furlough days due to budgets.
    We’ve seen travel either stop or slow for federal employees due to budgets.
    We’ve lived through two government shut downs due to republican games.

    Never have I seen a forced gag order of this level and never have I seen an administration freeze all grants and contracts for one federal agency, EPA.

    I believe Trump believes he owns all these federal agencies and that they work for his benefit. This is not his company. It is our government. Fight this fascist everyday.

    Call your senators and representatives every day.
    Snail mail the postcards with short directions on votes/confirmations. clog their mail.
    Organize with others. IN PERSON.
    Ask one or two people every day to call their representatives and Senators. Do this with friends and acquaintances throughout your state. Spread your reach.
    Gather on the steps of their offices with your signs and your voice.
    Go to their townhall meetings and voice your opinion.

    Trump is not king. He does not own our government or our agencies.
    Ryan is not knight or a squire, nor is McConnell.

    Remind all of them of who they work for.

    • avatar Renee Tafoya says:

      Good advice Yvette. My local “women’s march” is trying to stay connected and do exactly what you suggest: Organize and speak up.

      • avatar Elk375 says:

        Hello Renee and welcome to The Wildlife News. This is the first time that I have seen a post from you. When Paco gets back from Hawaii we must get together in Red Lodge and play Scrabble. We do not hold it against you because you spelled Tuberculosis and beat us that night.

  9. avatar Kyle says:

    Tis a nightmare, so we have no choice but to push back at every opportunity.

    The Trump/GOP strategy is clear: lie out your collective a%%es and gag the message. We all thought past administrations were liars, but Team Trump takes it to a whole new level: dangerous, disingenuous, and dishonorable. No need for a thoughtful discussion and serious weighing of the facts here people: “Period!”

    As we saw with Manning and Snowden, information will come out!

    The Society for Environmental Journalists offers excellent advice and links for whistle blowers.

    http://www.sej.org/publications/watchdog-tipsheet/leakers-guide-weedkiller-case-coal-ash-regs-more

  10. avatar Kathleen says:

    “A 70-foot ‘Resist’ banner is now hanging near the White House”
    Thank you, Greenpeace. Power to the people!

    http://www.businessinsider.com/greenpeace-resist-banner-above-whitehouse-2017-1

  11. avatar Kevin Jamison says:

    “ALL Federal Register documents, including ALL notices, and ALL correspondence”: isn’t this called trying to drink from a firehose?
    Of course they won’t really read or deal with any of the mass volume of stuff. They’ll just bottle it up till the heat dies down, then throw it all out. Government is supposed to NOT work and this bunch will see to it.

  12. avatar Nancy says:

    Yet another scary move by the new administration:

  13. avatar Kathleen says:

    “Trump administration tells EPA to cut climate page from website: sources”

    Excerpt: “U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has instructed the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website, two agency employees told Reuters, the latest move by the newly minted leadership to erase ex-President Barack Obama’s climate change initiatives.

    “If the website goes dark, years of work we have done on climate change will disappear,” one of the EPA staffers told Reuters, who added some employees were scrambling to save some of the information housed on the website, or convince the Trump administration to preserve parts of it.”

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-epa-climatechange-idUSKBN15906G?utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=Social

    See also, U.S. EPA Ungagged on Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/ungaggedEPA

  14. avatar Kathleen says:

    Love this: rogue twitter feed from NPS!
    Tweet:
    “Can’t wait for President Trump to call us FAKE NEWS.
    You can take our official twitter, but you’ll never take our free time!”

    AltUSNatParkService https://twitter.com/altnatparkser

  15. avatar bj says:

    As much as I’m not a fan of the incoming administration, this appears to be much ado about nothing. It’s long been an Exec Sec rule that certain kinds of correspondence must flow through Exec Sec.

  16. avatar Brett Haverstick says:

    I feel like we are living in North Korea.

  17. avatar Believing for a better world says:

    It’s being reviewed to continue or modify
    People read the last paragraph.

  18. avatar John kolbe says:

    Getting the worm out of the apple. Gettinh UN Agenda 21 out of the EPA. Four tactics: regionalism(unelected), NGO’s ( like southern poverty law center), woman’s movement ( March of causes (chaos), EPA(unaccountable law unto themselves). Read UN Agenda 21 !!!!!

  19. avatar TFB says:

    Discussion has roamed from the opening subject, the letter posted at the outset, a clear gag order to employees of the Dept of Interior. A gag order without an expiration date, or any indication that eventually it will be revised. Frame it as ‘best practice.’ But without any statement indicating it’s only a first step that will be revised, it’s a gag order. And that’s not ‘best practice.’

  20. avatar Abbygaile says:

    More like putting the poison into the apple. Four tactics indeed! Alternative facts (that better suit the narrative); misogyny (trying to keep women as second class citizens without full human rights); bigotry (the unelected tsar of Fascist Amerikka, Steve Bannon, the racist who is actually running the country); and of course the bob and weave, flood and gag, smoke and mirrors, lie and deny, bully and bait ‘management’ style one could expect from a group of sociopaths led by a few diehard psychopaths.

  21. avatar Real Leftist says:

    Cries of “far left” are hysterical and point to just how ignorant the right has become. And, on cue, they start jumping in with conspiracy theories. The far left opposes capitalism and never have had any representation within the US government. The completely ignorant finally have representation though. They have a buffon that is as clueless as themselves in office. At best it will lead to disaster. The government is definitely broken, but not because it has evolved into that, it was created that way from the start. The same people that were cheerleaders for unfettered capitalism are more whining because it works exactly the way they wanted. Now it is in crisis and they do what they have always done when in crisis, they unleash their fascist tendencies and deny what is right in front of them. The US has been a disgrace for s long time, and now it is a dangerous joke.

  22. avatar Nancy says:

    “There was nothing unanticipated in this first disturbing week of the Trump administration. It will not get better. Americans should therefore steel themselves, and hold their representatives to account”

    https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/01/a-clarifying-moment-in-american-history/514868/

  23. avatar Mel says:

    I guess if there are no rules then are there still Indians lived at standing rock? I heard there was an invasion by trumps minions on the Indians there prior to them blacking out of cell phone transmissions of the events occurring today. I feel so sorry for those poor people. Trump is not wasting any time in cleaning out what he considers undesirables standing in his way the big big business.

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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