“Within minutes of receiving a complaint from four Environmental Protection Agency whistleblowers in late June, an agency official shared the document with six EPA staffers, including at least one who was named in it, according to records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The records — more than 1,000 pages of internal emails — also show that within 24 hours EPA officials sent the whistleblowers’ complaint to other staff members who had been named in it. Two days later, the named employees met to discuss it. The releases were not in keeping with the best practices of handling whistleblower complaints, according to several experts contacted by The Intercept, and may have undermined the goals of the staff scientists who filed it.
The scientists’ disclosure laid out allegations of corruption within the EPA’s New Chemicals Division and provided detailed evidence that managers and high-level agency officials had deliberately tampered with numerous chemical assessments, sometimes deleting hazards from them and altering their conclusions. The environmental group Public Employees for Environmental Integrity, or PEER, which is representing the whistleblowers, submitted the complaint to Michal Freedhoff, the assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics, the office that contains the New Chemicals Division, as well as to the EPA inspector general, Rep. Ro Khanna, and The Intercept.”