It seems President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency chief might be trying to keep the public out of the loop about harmful chemicals in the country's water supply as his agency is barring reporters from events — and even having them forcibly removed.
As the Environmental Working Group reports that more than 1,500 drinking water systems across the country were contaminated with perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl, two nonstick chemicals or PFAS, the EPA is convening a summit on dangerous water contaminants.
According to the agency’s spokesman, Jahan Wilcox, there was no space for reporters at the event.
Still, the way an AP reporter was treated may indicate that not enough room isn’t really the motivation behind keeping reporters out.
After trying to go through a security checkpoint in the building and failing, the reporter asked to speak to an EPA public affairs person. Guards promptly grabbed the reporter by the shoulders and then forcibly removed her.
Inside the building, Pruitt told the 200 people present that dealing with the dangerous contaminants tied to developmental defects, cancer, and other health issues is a “national priority.”
Despite this claim, he and the Trump White House attempted to stop researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences from publishing a study showing that levels of harmful substances were found in the drinking water supply of 6 million Americans.
The attempted interference happened earlier this year out of fear the study would cause a “public relations nightmare,” as emails from an unidentified White House aide suggest.
"The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge," an aide reportedly wrote.
If you're concerned about your water supply, EcoWatch has an interactive map where you can check if your water system shows high levels of PFAS.
Hopefully, this news development will encourage more people to contact their representatives about this issue impacting millions of Americans.
Banner/Thumbnail Photo Credit: Reuters/Al Drago