The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention canceled a climate change and health summit months in the making without offering an official explanation, multiple news outlets reported Monday.
One summit co-sponsor reportedly claimed that the CDC had canceled the event in anticipation of political uncertainties posed by the new Trump administration.
An email from CDC officials, first reported E&E’s Climate Wire, does not offer an official explanation from the Climate and Health Summit, originally scheduled to be held in Atlanta during Feb. 14-16.
“We are currently exploring options so that the Summit may take place later in the year,” it reads, as quoted by Climate Wire.
A unnamed employee of a nonprofit that had planned on attending the summit told the Huffington Post that it had been planned “for months and months.”
But Dr. Georges Benjamin, the executive director of the American Public Health Association, which was a co-sponsor on the summit, told the Associated Press that he was told CDC officials canceled in order to avoid a clash with the incoming Trump administration.
Rather than face conflict from the Trump administration, or a last minute cancellation, Benjamin said the CDC opted for a “strategic retreat.”
“They decided the better part of valor was to stop and regroup” he told the AP.
A CDC official confirmed the agency’s decision last month to cancel the event to AP.
Howard Frumkin, former director of the CDC Center for Environmental Health, told Climate Wire that the CDC had made a practice of avoiding controversy.
“Sometimes the agency is subject to external political pressure; sometimes the agency self-censors or pre-emptively stays away from certain issues,” he said. “Climate change has been that issue historically.”