On Tuesday May 22, 2018, the U.S. EPA held a summit regarding harmful water contaminants. However, potentially furthering the controversy surrounding him, EPA chief Scott Pruitt will now face further scrutiny after journalists from national news organizations were barred from attending the event.
Journalists representing the Associated Press, CNN and the environmental-focused news organization E&E were refused attendance to the summit, with one being physically removed. This decision will likely only further the controversy surrounding Pruitt as he already finds himself in the midst of scandals regarding his use of taxpayer money and proximity to lobbyists. Pruitt is also under federal investigation for potential ethics violations.
The summit itself focused on the issue of harmful water contaminants, specifically perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl contaminants, man-made chemicals used in a bevy of industrial manufacturing processes. Such chemicals can cause developmental defects and other serious health problems.
“There are concerns across the country about these chemicals because of their persistence, their durability getting into the environment and impacting communities in an adverse way,” Pruitt said. “It’s something that we as an agency look forward to contributing answers toward.”
Pruitt also vowed to establish a legal maximum limit for such contaminants in drinking water systems, claiming the issue is a “national priority.”
Despite the pledge from Pruitt, another aspect of the controversy surrounding him involves Pruitt and the agency’s attempt to block the publication of a federal health study on a potential nationwide water-contamination crisis, as reported by Politico.