The Trump administration's campaign to pivot the Environmental Protection Agency away from protecting the environment continues.
The agency has canceled plans for three of its scientists to speak about climate change at a conference about the condition of Rhode Island's Narragansett Bay and Watershed, the New York Times reported on Sunday. An EPA spokesman did not explain why.
The conference about the major waterway was to focus heavily on climate change, and the EPA's scientists contributed to a 400-page report that will be released on Monday. The EPA is a primary funder of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program, the hosts of the conference.
"It’s definitely a blatant example of the scientific censorship we all suspected was going to start being enforced at E.P.A.,” said John King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island and the science advisory committee of the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. “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."
This week, the Times reported that dozens of online resources to help local governments cope with climate change have been removed from the Environmental Protection Agency's website.
President Trump is a climate-change denier who has appointed others of a similar philosophy to top environmental positions in his administration. Trump's nominee for senior White House environmental adviser once called global warming a "kind of paganism" for "secular elites." Trump's EPA administrator, Scott Pruitt, rejects the scientific consensus that human activity is the primary driver of climate change. “True environmentalism, from my perspective, is using natural resources that God has blessed us with,” Pruitt told the Heritage Foundation last week. Before coming to the agency, Pruitt sued the EPA 14 times, claiming the agency was over-regulating business.
Since taking office, Trump has moved to roll back President Obama's environmental policies. Among them: Soon after coming to office, he approved the Keystone XL pipeline. He has also lifted a freeze on new coal leases on public lands, ordered the elimination of a rule to protect wetlands and rolled back limits on toxic discharge from power plants into public waterways. In March and April, the administration withdrew actions to protect at least 42 endangered species, from the green sea turtle to the yellow-billed cuckoo, in a way that environmentalists say may have broken federal law. The action was not disclosed at the time.