Cancellation is latest EPA step away from issues of global warming and environmental damage
Developments on Day 276 of the Trump Administration:
EPA Cancels Scientists’ Involvement in Rhode Island Conference
In a further sign of its political turn against environmental concerns, the Environmental Protection Agency cancels
the presentations by three of its scientists on climate change at a Monday conference in Rhode Island.
EPA spokesman John Konkus, a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that the scientists will not speak at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence. He provided no further explanation.
Organizers and participants said they were surprised by the EPA’s last-minute cancellation, particularly since the agency helps to fund the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which is hosting the conference.
The EPA’s scientists contributed substantial material to a 400-page report to be issued on Monday. Autumn Oczkowski, a research ecologist at the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Atlantic Ecology Division in Rhode Island, was scheduled to give the keynote address. Colleagues said she intended to address climate change and other factors affecting the health of the estuary.
Rose Martin, a postdoctoral fellow at the Rhode Island laboratory, and EPA consultant Emily Shumchenia were scheduled to speak on a panel “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change.”
Since the start of the Trump Administration, the EPA’s efforts have shifted from protection to stripping back regulations and denial of the significance of climate change. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who pursued numerous cases against the agency as Oklahoma Attorney General, says that he does not believe human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are primarily responsible for global warming.
John King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island who chairs the science advisory committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, responded to the bar on the EPA scientists:
It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at EPA. They don’t believe in climate change, so I think what they’re trying to do is stifle discussions of the impacts of climate change.