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Climate Change Conference in Rhode Island Is EPA-less

Climate Change Conference in Rhode Island Is EPA-less

Protesters gather outside a meeting where a climate change report was to be released on Monday in Providence, Rhode Island. (Michelle R. Smith/AP)

By    |   Tuesday, 24 October 2017 10:54 AM

A climate change conference in Rhode Island had a higher profile on Monday, with protesting outside, after the Environmental Protection Agency declined to let its scientists make presentations at the event, The Washington Post reported.

The conference focused on a three-year report on New England's largest estuary, Narragansett Bay, and the challenges it faces, including those from reported climate change, the Post said.

The EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Atlantic Ecology Division told the conference Friday that the keynote speaker, EPA division research ecologist Autumn Oczkowski, and another colleague in the lab, Rose Martin, would not be able to make presentations at the event, per the Post.

An EPA contractor who had contributed to two chapters of the Narragansett Bay report, Emily Shumchenia, was ordered not to participate in panel titled "The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change," the Post noted.

"I was not given a clear reason why," Narragansett Bay Estuary program director Tom Borden told the Post. "It's a terrific partnership to have EPA working with us."

EPA spokesman John Konkus confirmed to The New York Times that the scientists would not speak at the conference in Providence and provided no further explanation.

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said in the past that he does not believe human-caused greenhouse gas emissions are the primary cause of global warming and the presentation cancellations heightened concerns that the EPA will silence government scientists from speaking publicly or conducting work on climate change, the Times said.

"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 who chairs the science advisory committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, 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."

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A climate change conference in Rhode Island had a higher profile on Monday, with protesting outside, after the Environmental Protection Agency declined to let its scientists make presentations at the event.
climate change, conference, rhode island, epa
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2017-54-24
Tuesday, 24 October 2017 10:54 AM
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