Economy

At last minute, EPA pulls scientists from New England climate conference

Those concerns appear to have been borne out over the weekend, when the EPA barred three of its scientists from giving presentations on climate change at a conference in Rhode Island.

The Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of expanding its security fleet for Administrator Scott Pruitt with the hiring of an additional 12 officers, which moves the total number of agents guarding Pruitt to 30, CNN reported Monday.

Many were surprised at the EPA's withdrawal from the event, reports the Times, because the federal agency provides funding to the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program.

Autumn Oczkowski, a research ecologist at the EPA's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory Atlantic Ecology Division in Rhode Island, planned to include the effects of climate change on the estuary in her keynote address, according to the Times.

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is one of 28 such programmes funded by the EPA, according to the EPA's website.

A 400-page report, which the three scientists largely contributed to, is set to be released on Monday - the day they were scheduled to speak at the conference.

The EPA did not respond when asked by CNN for the reasoning behind not allowing the scientists to speak. EPA spokesman John Konkus, a former Trump campaign operative in Florida, provided an emailed statement to The Washington Post and The Hill confirming the cancellations: "EPA scientists are attending, they simply are not presenting, it is not an EPA conference". Like several other members of President Donald Trump's cabinet, Pruitt's spending on travel has recently come under scrutiny as well because of his frequent trips back home to Oklahoma and his use of charter planes for official travel. Martin and Shumchenia were expected to directly tackle the subject on a panel called "The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change".

EPA administrator Scott Pruitt has repeatedly expressed doubts about climate change and under his leadership the agency has moved to undo dozens of Obama-era climate regulations, including Obama's Clean Power Plan aimed at combating global warming.



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