WaPo: EPA Forces Employees to Pull Down YouTube Video Critical of Cap-and-Trade

Imagine if you will, that during the prior presidential administration two EPA employees put up a video on YouTube that criticized environmental and energy policies supported by Republicans in Congress and President Bush, only to be told by EPA officials that they need to take down the video.

Given the media's consternation about the Bush administration's alleged efforts to squelch proponents of the theory of manmade global warming, such a story would likely be front page news in many newspapers, including the Washington Post.

But in this instance, the administration in question is Obama's, and the EPA employees are going at the president from his left flank, arguing the so called "cap-and-trade" plan would "lock in climate degradation."

Despite this, the Washington Post placed David Fahrenthold's November 11 story, "EPA tells workers to tone down YouTube clip about climate bill" on page A8:

Two Environmental Protection Agency lawyers who made a YouTube video calling current climate legislation a "huge mistake" were told by the agency to remove the clip and edit out some references to their employer, one of them said.

Allan Zabel and Laurie Williams, a husband and wife who have worked in the EPA's San Francisco office for more than 20 years, have been outspoken in their opposition to a "cap and trade" system for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

That system -- in which companies may buy and sell the right to pollute -- is at the heart of a climate bill passed by the House this summer, and another under consideration in the Senate.

On Oct. 31, the two made their case in an opinion piece in The Washington Post, saying the bill was fatally flawed by the inclusion of unreliable "carbon offsets," and would "lock in climate degradation" instead of solving it.

A few days later, Williams said, they were approached by EPA ethics officials. She said the officials demanded they take down a YouTube video they had posted in September that made many of the same points.

In the video, Zabel says none of their statements should be construed as an official position of the EPA or the Obama administration. But Williams said the EPA wanted them to further play down their federal connections. The officials said they could repost the video, she said, if they removed a mention of the length of their experience at EPA.

Another comment, in which Zabel said he oversees a cap-and-trade system for smog-causing pollutants in California, also had to go, she said. In addition, the agency said they had to take out a photo of the EPA's San Francisco office building.

Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd
Ken Shepherd is a writer living in New Carrollton, Md.