At the last minute, three EPA scientists have been barred by the agency from speaking at a Rhode Island conference that covers the impacts of climate change, the New York Times reports.
The State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed Workshop, taking place Monday in Rhode Island, coincides with the release of a 2017 report on the present and future conditions of the bay; panel discussions include offensive and un-American topics such as “Reduction of Nitrogen and Phosphorus Loadings and the Future Implications of Rising Temperatures and More Intense Precipitation” and “The Present and Future Biological Impacts of Climate Change.”
Autumn Oczkowski, a research ecologist at the EPA, had been scheduled to give a keynote address; Rose Martin, a postdoctoral fellow at the same National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, and EPA consultant Emily Shumchenia were also barred from speaking on a panel at the event. The Times reports that the program director of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which receives EPA funding (that funding would be cut under Pruitt’s proposed 2018 budget), says he was told three days before the event that the scientists wouldn’t be allowed to address the conference. The EPA confirmed that the three scientists wouldn’t be addressing the conference to the Times, but wouldn’t explain why.
Since energy industry marionette Scott Pruitt took over the EPA, regulations protecting the air and water have been steadily dismantled while mentions of climate change, which Pruitt likes to frame as an unsettled debate, have been yanked from an EPA website. The White House recently nominated Kathleen Hartnett White, who called belief in climate change “a kind of paganism,” to run the White House Council on Environmental Quality. Meanwhile, Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands have been hit with mind-bogglingly disastrous hurricanes fueled in part by warming waters, and dozens of people have died in the deadliest wildfire in California’s history.