Pruitt: Dealing with water contaminant a 'national priority'

Pruitt: Dealing with water contaminant a 'national priority'

Pruitt: Dealing with water contaminant a 'national priority'

There probably isn't a more ethical and conservative (small "c") news organization in America than the Associated Press, so today's decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to deny the AP entry to a summit on water featuring EPA head Scott Pruitt is an escalation of the showdown between the administration and the free press. EPA spokesman Jahan Wilcox said the session was invitation-only and there was no room for the AP, but did not say what criteria were used in determining which media the agency invited.

AP reported that security guards grabbed its reporter by the shoulders and "forcibly" shoved her out of the EPA building.

While a handful of reporters from publications, including The Hill, were personally invited to attend EPA Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittDems expand 2018 message to "draining the swamp" Dems to target GOP corruption in midterms: report Keeping Pruitt could cost GOP Congress, Trump in the fall MORE's opening remarks and the first section of the panel, other outlets not invited were not allowed to attend the summit on hazardous chemicals linked to cancer.

"We were able to accommodate 10 reporters, provided a livestream for those we could not accommodate and were unaware of the individual situation that has been reported", Wilcox said in an email.

Wilcox later said that the second half of the summit would be open to press and emphasized that the first part of the day had been livestreamed.

CNN was also blocked from attending the summit. A CNN photographer was screened by security guards before the event and was waiting for an escort or further information.

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Separately, a CNN reporter and producer lined up with members of the public and presented their IDs and credentials, identifying themselves as reporters. "We've all asked the agency's press office why we're being selectively shut out and have gotten no responses", he tweeted. A few minutes later, he returned and said the CNN journalists were not allowed in.

In a statement, a CNN spokesperson said, "Today, CNN was turned away from covering the PFAS National Leadership Summit at the EPA after multiple attempts to attend".

Tuesday's events add to a growing list of antagonistic exchanges between the EPA and the news media.

AP Executive Editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement that "It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed".

"Scott Pruitt is incapable of running the EPA without trampling on the health of American families and the freedom of the press in the process", Sierra Club Resist campaign director Maura Crowley said.

Pruitt spoke Tuesday as he opened a hearing on the contaminants, known as perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl.

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