Obama’s EPA silences dissent to carbon trading

There were initially positive signals that the Obama administration was correcting the atrocious legacy of the Bush administration’s denial of global climate destabilization—which extended to falsifying science and censoring dissenters. Now it appears that Obama’s EPA is itself silencing critics of the administration’s favored policy of carbon-trading. From the New York Times, Nov. 9:

Environmental Agency Warns 2 Staff Lawyers Over Video Criticizing Climate Policy
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 [“Cap and Trade Mirage“] 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.

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