Board objects to EPA excluding reporters

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The National Association of Science Writers today sent a letter to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt expressing concern that his agency prevented specific media outlets from attending a national drinking water summit.

NASW's Information Access Committee drafted the letter, which the board approved.

May 23, 2018

Scott Pruitt
US EPA Administrator
William Jefferson Clinton Building
1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Mail Code: 1101A
Washington, DC 20460

Dear Mr. Pruitt:
The National Association of Science Writers is deeply concerned that on May 22, 2018, the EPA excluded specific media outlets, and forcibly prevented one journalist, from attending the morning session of the agency's national summit on per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in drinking water.

When the EPA holds a meeting billed as a forum to share information that directly affects the health of people across the country, it is difficult to understand how the agency can deny entry to journalists who inform the public. Americans depend on a free press to inform them about how their government is dealing with an issue that you have called a national priority.

The National Association of Science Writers represents professional science journalists and communicators who promote and practice impartial and accurate journalism. Our association also advocates for the free flow of science news. We support and agree with the concerns outlined by the Society of Environmental Journalists: "Events at the summit fit a pattern of antagonism toward the press and a disregard for the public's right to know about what EPA is or is not doing to protect their health and the environment."

The National Association of Science Writers urges you to honor the duties and obligations of a free press by allowing journalists unrestricted access to meetings that are clearly of national public interest. We also urge you to take steps to ensure that reporters have the opportunity to attend future events of public interest. We request that you uphold your obligation as a public servant to work with the press and take steps to allow journalists to inform the public about policies that directly affect them.

Sincerely,

The Board and the Information Access Committee, National Association of Science Writers
May 23, 2018

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