Washington, DC — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is unfurling
a “multi-year” public relations campaign, including public service
announcements, video news releases plus “major events, tours and advance
[work]” to repair its tattered image for letting politics alter its scientific
work, according to agency documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental
Responsibility (PEER). The campaign began earlier this year and runs through
September 2007.

This ambitious rollout features a media campaign called “Science for
You” and is being run out of EPA’s scientific arm, called the Office
of Research and Development. The effort also includes –

  • Operating a “radio and television news director science awareness
  • Placing “feature” media accounts;
  • Developing a “print and virtual press media kit”; and
  • Conducting a “readership/product use survey.”

Due to leadership turnover, the senior ORD official not in an acting capacity
is a Bush appointee who spent his earlier career in public relations. Associate
Assistant Administrator Michael Brown is a former top advertising executive
with Fleishman-Hilliard and handled accounts for clients such as Starbucks,
Bass ale, Snapper tools and Georgia Natural Gas. Brown has surrounded himself
with other PR professionals who are setting policy for the more than 5,000-scientist
branch of EPA responsible for long-term research on human health and environmental
effects of pollutants.

“Spin doctors are not scientists, but at EPA spin doctors are supervising
scientists and setting research priorities,” stated PEER Program Director
Rebecca Roose. “The problems at EPA run much deeper than a failure to

This public relations effort is being financed out of funds that could otherwise
be used for public health and environmental research. Last week PEER filed a
complaint with EPA’s Office of Inspector General to review the legality
and the propriety of using tax dollars on “corporate image” enhancement.
In a letter dated July 22, 2005, the Office of Inspector General announced that
it had begun a review.

Communications contracts are already being issued to media firms to lay the
groundwork for the ad rollout and “branding” efforts. PEER is also
looking into the prior associations and other ties that winning firms have with
the EPA staff making contract decisions.

“What exactly is the difference between this EPA image offensive and
government financed propaganda?” asked Roose. “Doubts about the
integrity of agency science should be worked out within the scientific community
not in media blitzes and ad campaigns.”


the “Multi-Year Annual Work Program” for EPA/ORD Public Affairs
and Science Communication

at the Letter from the EPA Office of Inspector General

out more about EPA spending millions of research dollars on spin campaign

Phone: 202-265-7337

962 Wayne Avenue, Suite 610
Silver Spring, MD 20910-4453

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Environmental Responsibility

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