October 9, 2019

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Investigate Scott Pruitt for hiding toxic water contamination

June 3, 2018

Last week, the EPA forcibly removed an Associated Press reporter from a national summit on water contamination. The EPA had selectively banned several journalists from the event, holding a CNN reporter and others at a security checkpoint. When the AP reporter asked to speak to someone from the EPA's public affairs office, security guards grabbed her by the shoulders and shoved her out of the building.

The week before, news broke that EPA chief Scott Pruitt had quietly buried an EPA study on a nationwide water contamination crisis. The study found that a class of chemicals contaminating water supplies across a large region endangers human health when present at far lower levels than the EPA has previously called safe.

Pruitt's efforts to keep the public in the dark about serious health risks are unethical, authoritarian and dangerous. The AP's executive editor called the selective banning of journalists “a direct threat to the public’s right to know about what is happening inside their government.”  We must respond to that threat.

Tell the EPA inspector general: Investigate Scott Pruitt for hiding research and banning journalists. 

This is not normal – but it is frighteningly easy to see how we got here. Trump's contempt for journalists and his shameless disregard for democratic norms have made his top officials feel free to conduct what should be public business without the pesky eyes of the public watching them.

When the government hides environmental risks, our communities are less safe. And when public officials get to pick and choose which journalists are allowed to cover them, our democracy is less safe too.

The only way to check the Trump regime's authoritarian advances is to resist them at every turn. The independent EPA inspector general has the authority to investigate Pruitt's actions. If we are loud enough in our demands, we can persuade the inspector general to investigate and build political pressure for Pruitt to be more transparent or to heed the growing calls for him to resign.

Tell the EPA inspector general: Investigate Scott Pruitt for hiding research and banning journalists.

To contact the Office of the Inspector General, call Toll-Free: 1-888-546-8740 (Nationwide) or email OIG_Hotline@epa.gov

Sources: Joanna Walters and agencies, Journalists barred from EPA summit on harmful water contaminants," The Guardian, May 22, 2018.
Annie Snider, White House, EPA headed off chemical pollution study," POLITICO, May 14, 2018.
Associated Press, "Pruitt bars AP, CNN from EPA summit on contaminants, guards push reporter out of building," NBC News, May 22, 2018



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