An Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman lobbed rhetorical missiles at The New York Times Saturday after the newspaper asked the agency a series of questions about regulatory rules governing toxic chemicals.
NYT writer Eric Lipton wrote a piece detailing how EPA appointee Nancy Beck is supposedly directing the agency to weaken regulations targeting toxic chemicals. The agency refused to answer Lipton’s request for comment and instead lashed out on his biased reporting against the EPA.
“No matter how much information we give you, you would never write a fair piece,” Liz Bowman, a spokeswoman for the agency, told Lipton in an email about his coverage of the EPA during the past several months. Beck, a one-time executive at the American Chemistry Council, has repeatedly pushed for changes to various chemical regulations.
“The only thing inappropriate and biased is your continued fixation on writing elitist clickbait trying to attack qualified professionals committed to serving their country,” said Bowman, who also worked at the American Chemistry Council before joining the administration.
Lipton’s report lays out how Beck intended to rewrite a rule governing Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a so-called legacy chemical that has been linked to kidney cancer, immune system disorders and other health problems. It has traditionally been used in non-stick frying pans.
The changes could result in an “underestimation of the potential risks to human health and the environment” from PFOA and other chemicals that are no longer sold on the market, the Office of Water’s top official noted in an internal document TheNYT obtained.
Bowman has not responded to The Daily Caller New Foundation’s repeated requests for information regarding the validity of Lipton findings, most of which suggest industry insiders are purposely eroding the agency’s regulatory mission.
The agency has a history of fighting to ban more and more chemicals and pesticides. Chief Scott Pruitt, for instance, overrode recommendations in March from agency scientists and other senior officials to ban the pesticide chlorpyrifos that regulators believe causes developmental problems in children.
Lipton and the EPA have a history of engaging in verbal spats about regulations pertaining to chemicals and pesticides.
The agency accused the paper in August of reporting “false facts” about Pruitt’s decision in March not to ban chlorpyrifos. EPA claims Lipton and his colleague Roni Rabin withheld information from an Aug. 18 article showing an appeals court upheld the EPA’s ruling.
TheNYT made the “drastic” decision to omit “words from the EPA’s one-sentence statement in response to their story that reminded Americans that the USDA had scientific concerns about banning this pesticide,” the EPA noted in a press statement at the time.
“Taking emails out of context doesn’t change the fact that we continue to examine the science surrounding chlorpyrifos, while taking into account USDA’s scientific concerns with methodology used by the previous administration,” EPA spokesman Amy Graham wrote.
The article included the first portion of the email, but redacted relevant portions referring to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) belief the former administration relied on faulty science to determine the pesticide’s future.
EPA officials have lashed out at other media outlets in the past for their “misleading” reporting on agency actions. The agency targeted The Associated Press earlier this year for suggesting President Donald Trump’s administration did not respond to the damage Hurricane Harvey did to toxic waste sites in Houston, Texas.
Associated Press writer Michael Biesecker, the EPA claimed in September, “had the audacity to imply” that the federal government is not properly managing Superfund sites dealing with flooding from Harvey. Agency officials neglected to physically inspect the 41 toxic waste sites near Houston, Biesecker reported at the time.
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