The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has pulled three of its scientists from a major conference on Monday, where they were set to speak about the impacts of climate change on New England’s largest estuary, the New York Times reports.
The last-minute cancellation is raising alarms about attempts to stifle discussion on climate change at the federal regulating body, the Times says. The EPA did not provide a rationale for the change of plans.
EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, nominated to the position by President Donald Trump, has been a vocal denier of the scientific consensus that human-made greenhouse gases are a primary driving force of 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 Times. King chairs the science advisory committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, which is hosting the conference at which the EPA scientists are no longer speaking.
One of those scientists, ecologist Autumn Oczkowski, was scheduled to deliver the conference’s keynote address.
Rose Martin, a postdoctoral fellow from the same EPA laboratory as Oczkowski, and EPA consultant Emily Shumchenia, were slated for an afternoon panel on “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change.”
All three scientists had heavily contributed to a 400-page report to be launched on Monday, according to the Times.
The move comes just days after the EPA made changes to one of its websites. Dozens of mentions of climate change have been scrubbed, and pages detailing the risks of global warming were either toned down or wholly removed, according to the Times.
The website itself has been renamed from “Climate and Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments” to “Energy Resources for State, Local and Tribal Governments.”
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Write to Laignee Barron at Laignee.Barron@time.com