By Bianca Buono

bbuono@abc6.com

@BBuonoABC6

The national climate change debate is coming to a head in Providence. EPA scientists were scheduled to speak about climate change at a Narragansett Bay event Monday, but stunningly they were ordered not to do so by the EPA.

Several protesters showed up to the Save the Bay Center in Providence after hearing the news. They joined Rhode Island’s congressional delegation as they walked into what was supposed to be a highly anticipated release of an extensive report on the current state of Narragansett Bay.

"We've learned that we've made tremendous progress on cleaning up Narragansett Bay,” said Rhode Island DEM Director Janet Coit.

The 500-page report shows major improvements in water quality, but potential for future risks due to climate change. That includes rising water levels and water temperatures.

"We want to be at the front of confronting climate change and I think this report sets us up to do this,” said Coit.

The findings of the report, though, took a backseat. Instead, the focus shifted to politics after the EPA banned three agency scientists who worked on the report from presenting their findings.

"It makes me feel a little bit sick to my stomach frankly that that would happen in the United States of America,” said Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

"This is the most dangerous kind of scientific censorship imaginable,” said Congressman David Cicilline.

"We have got to get beyond this point of stifling science, of muzzling science,” said Congressman Jim Langevin.

John King, Chair of the Estuary Program’s Science Advisory Committee, said he talked with the three EPA scientists.

"The rug just got pulled out from under them,” King said.

He’s fearful for what could be next.

"The first thing is you can't talk about your science. And then the next thing is you can't do your science anymore,” said King.

ABC6 is told one of the three scientists did show up to Monday’s event.

© WLNE-TV 2017