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EPA cancels scientists' presentation on climate change at R.I. conference

By Sara Shayanian
EPA cancels scientists' presentation on climate change at R.I. conference
The Environmental Protection Agency canceled a scheduled presentation in Rhode Island Monday by three scientists on the effects of climate change. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The Environmental Protection Agency canceled a scheduled speaking appearance at a conference in Rhode Island on Monday -- at which three government scientists were set to talk about climate change.

John Konkus, an EPA spokesman and former campaign worker for President Donald Trump in Florida, confirmed that the agency scientists would not speak at the program.

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"EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting," Konkus told the Hill. "It is not an EPA conference."

However, scientists say much of the discussion at the event centers around climate change and the EPA scientists planned to unveil a 400-page research report on the phenomenon's impact on the Northeast's Narragansett Bay Estuary.

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The EPA report is scheduled to be released on Monday.

The move to cancel the speaking arrangement heightens existing concerns that the Trump administration is largely dismissing the concept 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, said.

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"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."

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has said he doesn't believe that human-produced greenhouse gas emissions are mainly responsible for global warming. Under his leadership, the words 'climate change' have been all but removed from the EPA website -- a stark departure from the agency's direction under former President Barack Obama.

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the EPA, and Monday's conference was formed to bring attention to the health of the bay, which is the largest estuary in New England and a key asset to the tourism and fishing industries.

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