The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has sparked criticism from academics and congressional Democrats by blocking two of its scientists and one outside contractor from speaking at a scientific conference this week on the state of Narragansett Bay and its watershed.
“EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting,” EPA spokesperson John Konkus told the Washington Post in an email. “It is not an EPA conference.”
- Concise headlines. Original content. Timely news and views from a select group of opinion leaders. Special extras.
- Everything you need, nothing you don’t.
- The Weekender: The climate news you need.
“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,” shot back Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), who is speaking at the conference. “Whatever you think about climate change, this kind of collaboration should be a no-brainer,” and “muzzling our leading scientists benefits no one.”
The conference will discuss a three-year, 500-page report on the state of the bay, New England’s largest estuary, and the Post says climate change figures prominently in the research. “For roughly six years, the EPA has provided about $600,000 annually for each of more than two dozen national estuaries, including the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, the conference’s host,” the paper notes.