EPA blocks some media from summit, reverses


Associated Press

NEW YORK

A reporter for The Associated Press was grabbed by the shoulders and shoved out of an Environmental Protection Agency building by a security guard Tuesday for trying to cover a meeting on water contaminants in which some reporters were welcomed and others were not.

An aide to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt later called to apologize to AP reporter Ellen Knickmeyer and said the incident is being looked into. Knickmeyer, who said she was not hurt, was later let into the meeting when the EPA reversed course and opened it to all reporters.

Representatives from CNN and E&E News, which covers energy and environment issues, were also initially barred from the meeting.

Even for an administration with a contentious relationship with the press and a president who has put the phrase “fake news” into the lexicon, Tuesday’s events were unusual.

Pruitt had convened what he called a national summit on dangerous chemicals that have been found in some water systems. Some 200 people attended, including representatives of states, tribes and the chemical industry and environmentalists.

Soaring numbers of water systems around the country are testing positive for a dangerous class of chemicals widely used in items that include non-stick pans and firefighting foam, regulators and scientists said.

Pruitt convened the conference as part of his pledge to step up EPA action on the family of contaminants.

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