Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency abruptly pulled a group of its scientists from speaking at a scientific meeting set to take place Monday. The conference was focused on exploring ways to protect the Narragansett Bay Estuary in Rhode Island. Climate change happens to be one of the threats to the estuary and the EPA's researchers were set to talk on this issue.
Given the administration's hostility to climate science, the new leaders of the EPA were quickly accused of censoring their own scientists.
"They don't believe in climate change," John King, a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, told New York Magazine, "so I think what they're trying to do is stifle discussions of the impacts of climate change."
The charges of scientific censorship that have been leveled at the EPA are indeed troubling. The EPA's only defense of their actions was that "it's not an EPA conference."
Given these events, it's worth remembering that there is a long, sad history of governments trying to muzzle, stifle or censor the fruits of scientific research. It's a history Americans might want to pay attention to, given how poorly those muzzling efforts worked out for the nations that tried to implement them.