Why were three Environmental Protection Agency scientists from Rhode Island recently prevented from presenting their contributions to a report focusing on how climate change will affect Narragansett Bay and its watershed?
That’s the question Rhode Island’s four-person Congressional delegation, and seven of the eight members of Massachusett’s delegation, are asking EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt after the three Rhode Island-based EPA scientists were prevented from participating in a recent forum introducing the report “The State of the Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed.”
“You would not have taken kindly to Washington bureaucrats telling scientists in Oklahoma they couldn’t speak with Oklahoma organizations to come up with ‘neighborhood solutions’ to better protect public health and a critical economic asset,” reads a letter to Pruitt, who is from Oklahoma, dated October 31. “Neither do we.”
The New York Times broke the national story last week one day before the scientists from the EPA’s South Ferry Road facility in Narragansett were to help present their findings at Save The Bay’s headquarters in Providence.
“Autumn Oczkowski, an EPA ecologist, was scheduled to give the workshop’s keynote address. Rose Martin, an EPA scientist, and Emily Shumchenia, an EPA consultant, were scheduled to speak on a panel,” according to the letter.
To date the EPA has not explained its decision to prevent the scientists from participating in the forum.
The letter was signed by Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Jack Reed as well as by Representatives Jim Langevin and David Cicilline. FRom Massachusetts, it was signed by Edward Markey, and Elizabeth Warren, as well as Representatives Richard Neal, Jim McGovern, Joe Kennedy, Katherine Clark, and Seth Moulton. Mass. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas does not appear to have signed the letter.