Dem lawmaker calls for investigation into EPA blocking reporters from event

Dem lawmaker calls for investigation into EPA blocking reporters from event
© Keren Carrion

A Democratic lawmaker is calling for an investigation into reports that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) blocked certain media organizations from attending a recent chemical summit. 

In a letter to Arthur Elkins, the inspector general for the EPA, Rep. Dan KildeeDaniel (Dan) Timothy KildeeWorking Families Tax Relief Act would help millions join middle class Democrats see whistleblower report as smoking gun Whistleblower fuels impeachment talk MORE (D-Mich.) called for a "fair and thorough" investigation into whether the agency violated any statutes or laws related to government transparency.

Kildee, whose district encompasses the town of Flint that has long suffered from deadly contagions in its drinking water supply, said he was not among the congressmen invited to the summit, and expressed his frustration that his staff members were only allowed to attend parts of the event. 

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"I am very troubled by Administrator Pruitt and the EPA's attempt to block access to taxpayer-funded meeting, either for journalists or members of Congress. Simply put, the public has a right to know what is happening in their government," Kildee wrote. 

Reporters from several news organizations were turned away at the door, including one female reporter from The Associated Press who says she was forcefully removed from the building after requesting to speak with a spokesperson for the agency. 

A number of news organizations including The Hill were personally invited to attend EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt's opening remarks and the first section of the panel, but other outlets not invited were not allowed to attend the National Leadership Summit on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances, hazardous chemicals linked to cancer.

The EPA has said its limits on media coverage were due to a shortage of space in the meeting room. 

But Kildee cited the debacle the latest in a "disturbing pattern by the Trump Administration when it comes to transparency in government."