Treatment of the Press and Public by Pruitt’s EPA is Shameful

Eric Pooley, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Communications, Environmental Defense Fund

May 22, 2018
Keith Gaby,, (202) 572-3336

“The treatment of reporters at today’s EPA summit on contaminants was a disgrace, but not a surprise. The Trump administration — and Mr. Pruitt’s EPA in particular — have shown a repeated disregard for the role of a free press and the public's right to information about their government. Beyond the Beltway, the real losers are the American people, whose health is threatened when the EPA shrouds itself in secrecy. 

“Even at a scientific conference, intended to find answers and educate the public about a serious drinking water contamination problem, we see the influence of Pruitt’s style of secrecy and entitlement. Access to the event was unreasonably limited, select reporters were barred from covering the event, and ‘EPA guards’ forcibly removed a reporter when she attempted to talk to government officials.   

“This summit’s blatant lack of transparency came after reports about EPA and the White House blocking the publication of a related federal health study on water-contamination. 

“The public has a right to know what EPA is doing. Shielding reporters from such a critical forum means fewer people will know about hazardous chemicals in their water systems. That EPA opened the summit after the altercation and public outcry demonstrates that there was no reason to have it closed in the first place.

“And under Pruitt’s leadership, the EPA has become a combat zone for for the media.

“It’s time for Congress to take a look at how the EPA is fulfilling its responsibilities to provide information to the public.”

-    Eric Pooley, Senior Vice President, Strategy and Communications, Environmental Defense Fund

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