EPA, White House apparently buried an HHS report on dangerous toxins near U.S. military bases

Scott Pruitt with Kellyanne Conway.
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

On Jan. 30, a federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staffer forwarded an email from another White House official warning that a Health and Human Services Department (HHS) study on a nationwide water-contamination crisis "is going to be extremely painful" to the Environmental Protection Agency and the Pentagon, and the EPA and Defense Department can't seem to get the HHS agency "to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be," Politico reported Monday, citing documents released to the Union of Concerned Scientists under a Freedom of Information Act request.

EPA officials including Administrator Scott Pruitt's chief of staff, Ryan Jackson, and EPA chemical safety chief Nancy Beck got involved and reached out to their HHS counterparts, Politico said. Beck, who worked for the George W. Bush administration and left the Obama administration in 2012 to become a lobbyist for the American Chemical Association, suggested bumping the report up to an interagency review led by the OMB. The report is still unpublished and HHS says it has no plans to release it.

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Peter Weber, The Week US

Peter has worked as a news and culture writer and editor at The Week since the site's launch in 2008. He covers politics, world affairs, religion and cultural currents. His journalism career began as a copy editor at a financial newswire and has included editorial positions at The New York Times Magazine, Facts on File, and Oregon State University.