Some Media Barred from EPA Water Contaminants Summit

At least three U.S. media outlets -- including the Associated Press and CNN -- were blocked from attending a national summit on water contaminants convened Tuesday by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The meeting was convened in Washington, D.C., by EPA chief Scott Pruitt, but was open to invited media only, agency spokesman Jahan Wilcox told the AP. Wilcox claimed there was no room at the event for a reporter from the AP.

According to the AP, when the news agency's reporter asked to speak to an EPA public-affairs person after being refused entry to the meeting, she was grabbed by security guards and pushed out of the EPA building.

In a statement, CNN also said its reporter was barred from the summit "after multiple attempts to attend," and E&E News, which specializes in energy and environmental issues, said their reporter was also refused entry.

"The Environmental Protection Agency's selective barring of news organizations, including the AP, from covering today's meeting is alarming and a direct threat to the public's right to know about what is happening inside their government," AP executive editor Sally Buzbee said in a statement. "It is particularly distressing that any journalist trying to cover an event in the public interest would be forcibly removed."

CNN said, "We understand the importance of an open and free press, and we hope the EPA does, too."

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