In a move that is equal parts predictable and concerning, the Environmental Protection Agency, helmed by Scott Pruitt, cancelled the appearances of three scientists who were scheduled to speak on climate change at a conference in Rhode Island on Monday.
While the EPA failed to provide explanation as to why the speeches were unceremoniously cancelled, the agency’s commitment to censoring climate science serves as enough evidence for their skewed rationale. According to The New York Times, which first reported the cancellations, all three scientists were supposed to discuss climate change’s affect on Narragansett Bay at a conference in Providence, RI.
“EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting, it is not an EPA conference,” said spokesman John Konkus in an email to The Washington Post.
The conference’s keynote address was supposed to be delivered by Autumn Oczkowksi, an ecologist at the EPA’s National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Atlantic Ecology Division. Her speech, colleagues told The Times, would have specifically addressed climate change’s impact on the estuary.
Another panel, “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change, featured Rose Martin, a research fellow at an EPA lab, and Emily Shumchenia, an EPA consultant, before they were forced to cancel their appearances. Oczkowski, Martin, and Shumchenia all contributed to a 400-page report on the health of Narragansett Bay that will be presented on Monday.
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which will host Monday’s conference, receives nearly $600,000 annually from the EPA to conduct its research. John King, chairman of the program’s science advisory committee and professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, described the EPA’s cancellation as obvious suppression of climate science.
“It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at E.P.A.,” King told The Times. “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.”