Three Environmental Protection Agency scientists scheduled to speak at an event Monday regarding climate change's affect on New England's largest estuary were instructed by the agency not to talk, just a few days before they were set to present their findings from a new report.
The report, published by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, goes into detail on how climate change is affecting everything from precipitation to air and water temperatures, and how that affects the health of the bay. The EPA would not say why the scientists, including one who was supposed to give the keynote speech, were told not to speak, instead saying in a statement the agency gives the program a $600,000 grant every year.
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has said he does not believe climate change is real, and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) suggested Monday that "because this was going to be about climate change ... they simply don't want to allow those words to be said, and they don't want people from their agency to be caught saying them. It's just been a constant effort at trying to silence conversation about climate change." The estuary program's director, Thomas Borden, told The Associated Press he was notified on Friday by the director of the EPA's Atlantic Ecology Division that two staffers had been advised not to attend, and he understood the directive came from EPA headquarters. Borden said he then learned that the third scientist, an EPA consultant who wrote much of the report, had been told not to participate, either, though she did attend.