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Trump Administration Suspends Protections for Energy Whistleblowers

Image: Trump Administration Suspends Protections for Energy Whistleblowers

The Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

By    |   Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 02:59 PM

The Trump administration has halted a regulation established by his predecessor that imposes penalties on federal nuclear contractors that punish whistleblowers, The Washington Post reports.

"In the December 27 rule, DOE clarified that the Department may assess civil penalties against certain contractors and subcontractors for violations of the prohibition against retaliating against an employee who reports violations of law, mismanagement, waste, abuse, or dangerous/unsafe workplace conditions, among other protected activities, concerning nuclear safety," reads a summary of the rule, from the Federal Register

The department halted the regulation from Jan. 31 to March 21, according to new Procedural Rules for DOE Nuclear Activities.

Whistleblower advocate Louis Clark, head of Government Accountability Project, warned that those in the organization "have had to engage in pitched litigation against contractors who routinely fire any whistleblower who dares to expose contract fraud, extraordinary public health and safety dangers, and massive contamination of the environment and the workforce — 80 percent of the DOE's entire budget goes to these contractors."

However, officials at the department deny that the change will prevent people from speaking their minds.

"The Department of Energy is strongly committed to a workplace where all workers — both federal and contractor — are free to speak out, voice concerns or lodge complaints, without fear of retaliation," Energy spokeswoman Lindsey Geisler told the Post.

According to a July report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the DOE "has infrequently used its enforcement authority to hold contractors accountable for unlawful retaliation, issuing two violation notices in the past 20 years."

"DOE has taken limited or no action to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment," the report stated.

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The Trump administration has halted a regulation established by his predecessor that imposes penalties on federal nuclear contractors that punish whistleblowers, The Washington Post reports.
whistleblowers, energy, protections, suspended
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2017-59-09
Thursday, 09 Feb 2017 02:59 PM
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