And So It Begins …

The headline caught my eye immediately …

E.P.A. Cancels Talk on Climate Change by Agency Scientists

Needless to say, the headline alone made creepy music begin to play in my head and shades of 1984 ran through my mind. Red flags flew up and alarm bells sounded. Funny how two years ago I would have thought nothing of this headline.

The event at which three scientists were scheduled to speak is the State of the Narragansett Bay and Watershed program in Providence, Rhode Island, and is hosted by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program. The conference is designed to draw attention to the health of Narragansett Bay, the largest estuary in New England and a key to the region’s tourism and fishing industries. The three scientists who have been barred from speaking at the conference helped research and write the 400-page report on the state of the bay. Among the findings are that climate change is affecting air and water temperatures, precipitation, sea level and fish in and around the estuary.

Much of the conference was to revolve around climate change.  Instead of the three scientists presenting the results of their scientific research, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, is scheduled to speak.  You will remember that Scott Pruitt is a climate change denier who, as Oklahoma attorney general, actually sued the very agency he now leads more than a dozen times.

The three scientists, Autumn Oczkowski, Rose Martin, and Emily Shumchenia, were to speak on an afternoon panel entitled “The Present and Future Biological Implications of Climate Change.” Given Mr. Pruitt’s and Mr. Trump’s views on climate change, and their unwillingness to accept responsibility for reducing carbon emissions in order to slow the effects on the environment, this stifling of data, or open discussion should come as no surprise.

EPA spokesman, John Konkus said that the three scientists would be allowed to attend the program, but not the morning news conference.  Perhaps Mr. Pruitt fears the scientists might comment. No surprise, but very disturbing.  We The People are not to be allowed access to facts, only to the ‘alternative facts’ that Trump & Co decide upon.  1984. Newspeak.

Since August, all EPA grant requests have gone through Mr. Konkus’ office for review. Konkus served on Trump’s campaign before he was appointed deputy associate administrator in the EPA’s Office of Public Affairs. At the time, agency officials said they were ensuring agency funding is in line with “Mr. Pruitt’s priorities”.  And we all know what those are … $$$$$$$$$$$$$$

The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is funded through the EPA’s approximately $26 million National Estuary Program. It funds 28 state-based estuary programs and delivers about $600,000 annually to the Narragansett Bay program. Mr. Pruitt’s proposed budget for 2018 would eliminate the national program. Eliminate.  Think on that one for a minute.

The EPA has removed most mentions of the words “climate change” from its website. Pruitt has declined to link carbon dioxide emissions to global warming, and in an interview with Time magazine last week said he intended to assemble a team of independent experts to challenge established climate science because, Mr. Pruitt asserted, it has not yet been subject to “a robust, meaningful debate.”  Nor is it likely to be under the “leadership” of Mr. Pruitt.

In other environmental news, the EPA is loosening regulations on toxic chemicals that may affect the quality and toxicity of drinking water, among other things that pose a threat to the health of people and the planet as a whole.  And Trump’s proposed budget includes funding for drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The refuge is an untouched region of Alaskan wilderness, supporting the habitat of caribou, wolves, polar bears and hundreds of species of migratory birds. I will have more about these topics in a future post.

I think we all anticipated these moves and more, but to wake up one morning and see in bold print that blatant censorship of real information is happening is sobering, to say the least. Censorship. The withholding of information robs us of the ability to decide for ourselves what to believe or disbelieve.  Trump & Co would have us believe only what they tell us to believe.  They would turn us into sheeple who have no need to think, for we are told all that we need to know by the likes of Trump, Pruitt, Sessions and the rest.  We The People will not stand for it, for I still have faith in our independent spirit.  I sincerely hope that the three scientists who were barred from speaking will speak out in other venues, will help the public understand the results of their research in spite of Big Brother.

Alternative facts … a lie by any other name is still a lie.