The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cancelled the speaking appearances of three agency ecologists at an event hosted by the Narragansett Bay Estuary Program in Providence, Rhode Island held on Oct. 23. The event launched the 2017 “State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed Summary Report.” EPA scientists contributed to the report, which addresses issues affecting the bay, including climate change.
In response to the EPA action, the Society issued the following statement.
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The Ecological Society of America strongly condemns the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to cancel the presentations of three ecologists in Rhode Island at an event to launch the 2017 “State of Narragansett Bay and Its Watershed Summary Report” that underwent extensive peer review and a public comment process. The report addresses many topics including management of climate change impacts to human and natural systems.
“Stifling ecologists who have valid research to inform management decisions affecting those living and working in the watershed is unconscionable and serves no one,” said Katherine McCarter, executive director, Ecological Society of America.
Scientific research – and the free exchange of scientific knowledge, ideas, and data – must be valued and protected. Scientists, including scientists serving in the federal government, must be able to freely conduct their research, communicate their findings, publish their work, and ensure the accuracy of scientific information without fear of retaliation or restriction.
ESA and its members are committed to the integrity and availability of scientific research and we believe in the critical importance of the unrestricted sharing of scientific data and findings. Objective scientific findings play a crucial role in addressing a wide range of domestic and international challenges. Scientific knowledge is a critical element of decision-making, and unbiased scientific research is used to inform policies that serve the public interest. Without scientific integrity and independence, our nation will lose the benefits that science provides to the economy, policymaking, technological innovation, and society.
The Ecological Society of America, founded in 1915, is the world’s largest community of professional ecologists and a trusted source of ecological knowledge, committed to advancing the understanding of life on Earth. The 9,000 member Society publishes five journals and a membership bulletin and broadly shares ecological information through policy, media outreach, and education initiatives. The Society’s Annual Meeting attracts 4,000 attendees and features the most recent advances in ecological science. Visit the ESA website at http://www.esa.org.