CREDO Action

Stop Trump's EPA from hiding information from the public

Sign the petition

The petition to the Senate reads:

"Support the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019 to ensure that the public can access information in the way the Freedom of Information Act intended."

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    Stop Trump's EPA from hiding information from the public

    If a new rule by Donald Trump's industry-friendly EPA stays in effect, the public's ability to shine a light on the Trump administration's backdoor dealings with Big Oil and polluters could remain in the dark.

    The climate deniers and industry insiders packed into the EPA are fighting to keep public records secret in order to gut environmental protections and enrich the industries that are destroying communities and exacerbating the climate crisis.

    New bipartisan legislation in the Senate called the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019 would safeguard Freedom of Information Act requests and ensure the public’s right to information. We must build public support for this legislation to protect our right to know and expose the corruption in the Trump administration.

    Tell the Senate: Support the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019 now.

    Thanks in part to intrepid journalists and public interest organizations armed with FOIA requests, we know that Trump has packed his administration with climate deniers and oil lobbyists, handed public lands over to extractive industries, scrubbed climate information from public websites and is waging a war on science. In fact, FOIA requests played a significant role in the downfall of former disgraced EPA administrator Scott Pruitt.1

    But Trump's new rule, signed by Andrew Wheeler, current EPA Administrator and former coal lobbyist, without any public input, would allow a wide range of political appointees at the agency – many of whom are industry insiders – to deny requests for public information. The rule would let them keep their secret deals with the fossil fuel industry away from public scrutiny.

    The rule comes on the heels of a Supreme Court decision that overturned more than 40 years of FOIA precedent to rule in favor of corporate secrecy over the public’s right to know. This legislation seeks to undo that decision as well.2

    With industry and corporate shills filling the Trump administration and Supreme Court, the Open and Responsive Government Act will start to put the public's interest ahead of corporate interests. As Meg Townsend, open government attorney with the Center for Biological Diversity, put it, "We have a right to know what EPA is trying to hide and which Trump appointee is trying to hide it."3

    Join us and demand that the Senate defends our right to know what the Trump administration is up to and pass this critical legislation:

    Tell the Senate: Support the Open and Responsive Government Act of 2019 now.

    Thank you for speaking out.

    References:

    1. Government Accountability Project, "Whistleblowing, FOIA, and the Fall of Scott Pruitt," July 16, 2018.
    2. Miranda Green, "Bipartisan senators introduce bill to challenge new EPA policy and Supreme Court ruling on FOIA," The Hill, July 23, 2019.
    3. Andrea Germanos, "Challenging EPA's New FOIA Rule, Suit Seeks to Stop Trump's 'Shameful Attempt to Keep Americans in the Dark,'" Common Dreams, July 24, 2019.