President Obama and his nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Gina McCarthy, have come under fire from a group of reporters who cover environmental issues due to the agency’s secretive policies with regard to press inquiries.
“The Obama administration has been anything but transparent in its dealings with reporters seeking information, interviews and clarification on a host of environmental, health and public lands issues,” Society of Environmental Journalists executive director Beth Parke said in a statement Wednesday. “The EPA is one of the most closed, opaque agencies to the press.”
SEJ said that lack of transparency at the agency emerged as a problem during George W. Bush administration, but it has worsened under Obama.
“Information and interview requests are routed to the agency’s Washington headquarters, where they often languish and die,” Parke explained. “Reporters are regularly required to submit written questions, even on the simplest daily stories. Interview requests are rarely granted. Delays are routine. Replies, when they do come, are from press officers, not scientists or policymakers. Answers to requests made under the Freedom of Information Act also are routinely delayed.”
E&E Publishing asked the EPA about the journalists’ complaints, but “an EPA spokeswoman declined to return a request for comment.”