Former Governor of California Arnold Schwarzenegger has tweeted a proposition to Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt following reports about the administration's handling of a study containing warnings about toxins in water supplies.
"I'm a simple guy so I have a simple remedy when people like Pruitt ignore or hide pollution: if you don't have a problem with Americans drinking contaminated drinking water, drink it yourself until you tap out or resign," the action star wrote.
The social media communication follows a Freedom of Information Act filing by the US’s Union of Concerned Scientists which revealed that the USEPA sought to block a federal government report on water contamination showing that chemicals endanger human health at a far lower level than the agency has previously called safe.
Politico reported last week that USEPA and White House internal emails showed concern that publication of the study by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) study, produced by its Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) would be a “public relations nightmare” and “a disaster” for USEPA’s reputation as well as the Department of Defense which is responsible for much of the pollution in question, which is associated with chemical plants, US military installations and other sites.
Nationwide, 564 public or private drinking water systems near military bases had contamination above the existing USEPA advisory level as of August 2017, the US military said in a recent report.
“The public, media, and Congressional reaction to these numbers is going to be huge,” one unidentified White House aide said in an email forwarded on Jan 30 by James Herz, a political appointee who oversees environmental issues at the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The email added: “The impact to EPA and [the Defense Department] is going to be extremely painful. We (DoD and EPA) cannot seem to get ATSDR to realize the potential public relations nightmare this is going to be.”
More than three months later, the draft study remains unpublished, and ATSDR says it has no scheduled date to release it for public comment. Critics say the delay shows the Trump administration is placing politics ahead of an urgent public health concern.