The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has canceled a scheduled speaking appearance at a Rhode Island conference on Monday in which three agency scientists had been lined up to talk about climate change.
EPA spokesman John Konkus, who formerly served as a Trump campaign operative in Florida, confirmed that the scientists wouldn't be speaking at the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed event in Providence, R.I.. “EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting, it is not an EPA conference," he told The Hill in a statement.
The New York Times was the first to report on the decision.
Many were taken aback by the agency's decision, according to the Times article, as the EPA helps fund the organization hosting the event: the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.
The scientists who were set to speak at the conference planned to talk about their research findings that climate change is having a negative effect on the estuary, including changing the air and water temperatures, the sea level, as well as the marine life in and near the estuary, the Times reported, citing colleagues with knowledge of their planned remarks.
A 400-page report, which the three scientists largely contributed to, is set to be released on Monday — the day they were scheduled to speak at the conference.
Konkus did not provide the Times with further explanation about the sudden cancellation. The move has raised concern that the agency is trying to block climate change research and efforts to speak out about its impact under the leadership of Administrator Scott PruittEdward (Scott) Scott PruittEPA bans use of pesticide linked to developmental problems in children Science matters: Thankfully, EPA leadership once again agrees Want to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump MORE, according to the Times.
Pruitt has said he does not believe that greenhouse gas emissions produced by humans are mainly responsible for global warming.
“It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at EPA,” John King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, told the newspaper.
“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,” said King, the chair of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program's science advisory committee.