Within the first few days of our newest administration, the Commander-in-Chief released a gag order which called on numerous federal agencies to not discuss their departments’ affairs with the public. Divisions affected by this include the Department of Agriculture, the Department of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency. This freeze in the transfer of information between the government and those who they exist to serve not only harbors distrust between citizens and their government but also distrust between government agencies and the current administration’s leadership.
The Department of Agriculture oversees the laws pertaining to the United States farming, agriculture, forestry and food supply. When first alerted of this gag order’s effect on the USDA, many were amused, considering that in areas where farming is common, the new POTUS always took the cake. In fact, in some rural areas, he beat his opponent with 71 percent of the vote. However, that is the least relevant detail of this situation.
Most would agree that the reasoning behind including this agency in the gag order was the USDA scientist’s recent studies into cows and their connection to the release of methane, which is a harmful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. One may wonder what the government gains from concealing this information from the public. These people may be directed to the actuality that our Head of State referred to climate change as “a hoax perpetrated by the Chinese” and has shown no evidence of having changed his mind on the matter. They may also be directed to the fact thathe hates being wrong, and would do anything to cover up his falsehoods.
The Department of the Interior (DOI) is involved in the maintenance and conservation of lands that belong to Indigenous peoples of the United States of America. Recently, the department has been in the news more often than usual due to the Dakota Access Pipeline, which would be a 1,172 mile oil pipeline that would run through Meskwaki and Sioux lands, and have an effect on their environment and resources. Due to these troubling circumstances, the DOI partnered with the Department of Justice and voted to shut down construction of the pipeline, actively halting the plans. Nevertheless, the new administration decided to continue the plans — a choice that has not been widely reported due to multiple hectic events that happened during the first week.
The gag order’s effect on this department is particularly troubling due to the circumstances. The new administration changed the ruling of the DOI less than two months after it passed, which shows a harboring of opposition within USFG departments. Another troubling revelation that can come from this order is the active silencing of those who oppose the new administration’s policies, which may worry one over the future of free speech for public staff.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has the responsibility of passing legislature that is meant to protect the environment and those who inhabit it. An important detail about this department is that over half of their staff are scientists and environmental protection professionals. Another important detail is that studies show 97 percent of all science professionals believe that climate change is being moved further due to human activity, a resolution rejected by the POTUS and most of his administration. The gag order aforementioned prevents EPA employees from releasing facts about practices that are harmful to the environment, fostering a culture of ignorance among citizens.
The most troubling details of the gag order on the EPA and all those expressed in this article show that the new administration may develop a habit of discardingfacts that don’t line up with their ideologies and overall agenda.