EPA Attacks AP Reporter for Accurate Coverage of Toxic Waste Sites
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) directly attacked the Associated Press this weekend for accurate reporting around Houston's toxic cleanup.
An AP exclusive posted Saturday reported that AP reporters had been able to access seven flooded Superfund sites in the Houston area, despite the EPA's claims that several of the sites were inaccessible to agency personnel.
In a news release posted Sunday, the EPA personally blasted reporter Michael Biesecker for reporting an "incredibly misleading story ... from the comfort of Washington," citing a story Biesecker wrote earlier this summer on EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt that merited a later correction. The news release did not deny the AP's assertion that EPA personnel had not visited the sites in question, or note that reporter Jason Dearen, who shared the story's byline, was on the ground in Houston.
The agency would not confirm to Politico which staffer wrote the release.
"AP's exclusive story was the result of on the ground reporting at Superfund sites in and around Houston, as well as AP's strong knowledge of these sites and EPA practices," AP Senior Vice President and Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement Sunday.
"We object to the EPA's attempts to discredit that reporting by suggesting it was completed solely from 'the comforts of Washington' and stand by the work of both journalists who jointly reported and wrote the story."
As reported by ThinkProgress:
"President Donald Trump is notorious for attacking individual reporters in his speeches and tweets as part of an effort to generate distrust of the news media among the American public. But it is very rare, if not unprecedented, for a federal agency to specifically target an individual reporter in a press release."
For a deeper dive:
By Jake Johnson
Amid reports that oil industry-friendly former Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz remains under consideration to return to his old post in the incoming Biden administration, a diverse coalition of environmental groups is mobilizing for an "all-out push" to keep Moniz away from the White House and demand a cabinet willing to boldly confront the corporations responsible for the climate emergency.
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Anger, anxiety, overwhelm … climate change can evoke intense feelings.
"It's easy to feel dwarfed in the context of such a global systemic issue," says psychologist Renée Lertzman.
She says that when people experience these feelings, they often shut down and push information away. So to encourage climate action, she advises not bombarding people with frightening facts.
"When we lead with information, we are actually unwittingly walking right into a situation that is set up to undermine our efforts," she says.
She says if you want to engage people on the topic, take a compassionate approach. Ask people what they know and want to learn. Then have a conversation.
This conversational approach may seem at odds with the urgency of the issue, but Lertzman says it can get results faster.
"When we take a compassion-based approach, we are actively disarming defenses so that people are actually more willing and able to respond and engage quicker," she says. "And we don't have time right now to mess around, and so I do actually come to this topic with a sense of urgency… We do not have time to not take this approach."
Reporting credit: ChavoBart Digital Media
Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.
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