Admin Blocked Publication Of Water Contamination Report Over Fear Of PR ‘Nightmare’

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt speaks to the media during the daily briefing in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, June 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP

The Environmental Protection Agency and the White House took measures to block the publication of a report on a nationwide water-contamination crisis because of concerns it would cause a “public relations nightmare,” Politico reported Monday. 

The report by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) was set to publish in January, disclosing that a dangerous level of toxic chemicals had contaminated water near military bases and other areas from New York to Michigan to West Virginia. The study would also reveal that the chemicals are riskier to human health at a level lower than what the EPA has previously deemed safe, Politico reported. 

According to an email obtained by Politico, one White House aide warned early this year that the “reaction” to the report would be “huge” and “extremely painful” to the EPA and the Department of Defense. 

“The public, media and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email obtained by Politico. “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”

The water contamination report has still not been published, according to Politico. 

Read the full story here.

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