Washington, D.C. – Last week it was reported that the White House was seeking to suppress a federal health study about the effects of PFOA and PFOS in drinking water, citing a potential “PR nightmare”. Today, several journalists were barred from a related hearing, and one of them was reportedly shoved by a guard and removed from the building.
In response, Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, issued the following statement:
“No situation has so clearly illustrated why Pruitt must leave the EPA as this morning’s tyrannical treatment of press at the hands of his agency—and that’s saying a lot. His cronyism and dozens of corruption scandals were enough to call for his removal. Now, it’s a matter of sustaining our freedom of the press and protecting lives where communities are faced with toxic water contamination.
“The White House reportedly worried about a ‘PR nightmare’ if this federal study were to be released. There is no better way to ensure a PR nightmare than to shove a journalist that showed up to report on how our government is handling water contamination. Clearly, the administration has something to hide, and it has to do with our most essential resource that is critical for survival.
“Given how boastfully this administration has dismissed science and public safety concerns over the last year, the fact that they’re now trying to keep reporters away from this hearing speaks volumes. What they’re attempting to keep under wraps is likely to be much worse than anyone has considered. This may be the administration’s biggest attack on public health and safety to date.
“We can’t stress enough that Pruitt must go. Given that Pruitt has been enabled by the White House in his mismanagement of the EPA, our elected officials must do everything in their power to make sure this happens before more damage is done to our environment and our democracy.”
Food & Water Watch champions healthy food and clean water for all. We stand up to corporations that put profits before people, and advocate for a democracy that improves people’s lives and protects our environment.
Contact: Darcey Rakestraw, 202-683-2467; [email protected]