EPA responds to backlash by banning reporters for second day in a row


Scott Pruitt's EPA apparently needs yet another scandal.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) faced a stiff backlash Tuesday for banning reporters from an EPA event. And the agency responded by banning even more reporters on the second day of the event.

Reporters from several outlets were banned from a national leadership summit on Tuesday, and one was even roughed up by EPA security.

That ban resulted in furious backlash from journalists, which continued Wednesday morning. CNN anchor Poppy Harlow called the EPA out for lying about space at the event, and called the ban "a direct attack on the freedom of the press."

The EPA's response to that backlash was to ban all reporters from the second day of the event, Wednesday. In an emailed statement to media outlets, the agency tried to claim that the summit isn't covered by a transparency law because the agency isn't soliciting "advice" from participants, only "individual perspectives."

But Politico science reporter Emily Holden called them out, writing on Twitter, "I was there yesterday. EPA was clearly collecting recommendations for future action, even if there wasn’t consensus."

Tuesday's summit was, itself, a scandal-related affair dedicated to newly revealed details about high levels of toxic chemicals in the U.S. water supply that the EPA and the White House tried to suppress.

EPA's move is just the latest in a long series of Trump administration attacks on the free press that seem to have infected every agency, including the Justice Department. But reporters like Holden will continue to hold them accountable.