(Source: Juliet Eilperin and Brady Dennis, The Washington Post)
The Environmental Protection Agency instructed two of its scientists and one contractor not to speak as planned at the Narragansett Bay National Estuary Program’s State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed scientific conference Monday in Providence, R.I.
EPA officials confirmed Sunday that its researchers would not present at the State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed program but did not offer an explanation for the decision.
“EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting, it is not an EPA conference,” EPA spokesman John Konkus said in an email.
The conference marks the culmination of a three-year report on the status of Narragansett Bay, New England’s largest estuary, and the challenges it faces. Climate change features as a significant factor in the 500-page report, which evaluates 24 aspects of the bay and its larger watershed. The estuary report, which was subject to extensive peer review and public comment, charts how Narragansett Bay is becoming cleaner but also faces challenges such as nutrient runoff and climate change.
“Narragansett Bay is one of Rhode Island’s most important economic assets and the EPA won’t let its scientists talk with local leaders to plan for its future. Whatever you think about climate change, this kind of collaboration should be a no-brainer,” Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) said in a statement. “Muzzling our leading scientists benefits no one.” Whitehouse was scheduled to speak at the event.
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