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EPA Threatens Staff Lawyers Over Video

Tucked away discreetly in the ‘Politics’ section of the New York Times:


Environmental Agency Warns 2 Staff Lawyers Over Video Criticizing Climate Policy

By JOHN M. BRODER and LESLIE KAUFMAN

November 10, 2009

The Environmental Protection Agency has directed two of its lawyers to makes changes to a YouTube video they posted that is critical of the Obama administration’s climate change policy.

The agency, citing federal policies, told the two lawyers, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, who are married and based in San Francisco, that they could mention their E.P.A. affiliation only once; must remove language specifying Mr. Zabel’s expertise and their years of employment with the agency; and must remove an image of the agency’s office in San Francisco.

They have been told that if they do not edit the video to comply with the policy, they could face disciplinary action.

The video, titled “The Huge Mistake,” was produced and posted in September. But the agency did not issue its warning until The Washington Post published a widely cited opinion article by the couple on Oct. 31 that raised concerns, echoing those in the video, about cap-and-trade legislation that the Obama administration supports.

Ms. Williams and Mr. Zabel say cap and trade, in which the government sets a limit on gases that contribute to global warming and then lets companies trade permits to meet it, can be easily gamed by industry and fail to reduce the emissions linked to global warming.

On Thursday, Mr. Zabel said, regional ethics officers with the agency met with him to express concerns about the video and to demand that it be taken down by the next day. Ms. Williams was traveling and did not take part in the meeting.

E.P.A. officials said the agency did not object to the content of the video or the op-ed article or challenge the couple’s right to express their opinions. But they said that government ethics rules required them to state that the opinions were their own and not those of the agency.

“E.P.A. has nearly 18,000 employees, and all of them are free to — and many do — publicly express their views on issues of the day, including issues that are central to E.P.A.’s mission,” Scott Fulton, the agency’s general counsel, said in a statement. However, the video did say the opinions were those of Mr. Williams and Ms. Zabel and were not meant to represent the agency.

In addition, Mr. Williams and Ms. Zabel say they quickly removed the video from their Web site and YouTube. But they said that others had copied the video and put it up on separate YouTube accounts and that it is still easily found.

Green Shirts are the new Brown Shirts.

The agency, citing federal policies, told the two lawyers, Laurie Williams and Allan Zabel, who are married and based in San Francisco, that they could mention their E.P.A. affiliation only once; must remove language specifying Mr. Zabel’s expertise and their years of employment with the agency; and must remove an image of the agency’s office in San Francisco.

Is this not what is called restriction of free speech by prior restraint? Does not the US Constitution specifically prohibit the federal government from doing this very thing?

Mr. Zabel can’t even mention his expertise or their employment background?

For once we are on the side of lawyers and we hope they sue.

E.P.A. officials said the agency did not object to the content of the video or the op-ed article or challenge the couple’s right to express their opinions. But they said that government ethics rules required them to state that the opinions were their own and not those of the agency.

Note that even The Times admits that the Zabels did comply with this rule and announced that they were simply expressing their own private opionions in the video. And still they are being forced to remove it and sanitize it.

It’s funny, we don’t recall such actions being taken against Mr. James Hansen (of NASA) when he makes his doomsday pronouncements in defense of the climate change cult.

But, apparently, some people are more equal than others.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, November 10th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

6 Responses to “EPA Threatens Staff Lawyers Over Video”

  1. canary says:

    The EPA like OSHA and the rest of them, are worthless, do nothing, but sit on their butts employees. The only reason they make there reports is to make it appear there is a need for their jobs.

  2. Liberals Demise says:

    The holes ( I’m afraid ) have already been dug for these two.

  3. proreason says:

    Obamy’s government once again demonstrates its fierce willingness to take the fight to the enemy.

  4. Right of the People says:

    They didn’t read the manual, that is their major sin. That and correcting the Won™. They will probably be recycled.

  5. TwilightZoned says:

    I guess I admire their willingness to stand up and make
    the argument crap & tax is garbage. It’s nothing most
    us didn’t already know. However, let’s consider this video
    for what it really is…another fine example why the internet
    must be government controlled and soon. The truth getting
    out may, after all, destroy all the government’s evil plans.
    And that will never do!


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