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Suppression of Science and Destruction of the
Environment

Thick Layer of Oil From the BP Oil Spill Deposited on the Gulf Sea Floor: Government Tries to Evade and Ignore Crucial Scientific Findings - Restarts Deep-Sea Drilling in the Gulf

Less than a year ago, April 20, 2010, the world watched in horror as the BP Deepwater Horizon drilling rig exploded resulting in up to 60,000 barrels (2.5 million gallons) of oil per day spewing into the Gulf of Mexico for several months. BP and the government proved unable to stop the gusher of oil for months. At the time of the spill the Obama administration put a temporary halt on off-shore drilling and promised it would not begin until a full assessment of the impact was done and until if was proven safe to resume.

... just recently, a team of researchers led by Samantha Joye from the University of Georgia reported disturbing findings at the annual meeting of the AAAS. Joye's team used a deep sea submersible and collected over 250 ocean floor core samples over an area of the Gulf covering 2600 square miles including at the Macondo well site where the spill occurred. A large number of those core samples showed a 4 inch thick layer of oil deposition.

...On February 28, 2011, barely a week after Joye's findings were released, the Interior Department announced that deep-sea oil drilling was resuming in the Gulf. A company called Nobel Energy has already been granted a license to begin drilling again in 6500 feet deep waters and more license approvals are not far behind in the approval pipeline.

Unable to ignore Joye's findings, NOAA head Jane Lubchenco, representing the Obama administration, tacitly acknowledged and at the same time attempted to downplay and muddle the significance of these results stating: "it's not a contradiction to say that although most of the oil is gone, there still remains oil out there." No – there is a massive amount of oil out there and it is having a devastating impact on marine life.
read the entire article...

Federal Gulf Oil Report: A Flawed Abuse of Science - Gulf Crisis Is Not Over

The federal government's National Incident Command has released it's report on the gulf oil spill “BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Budget: What Happened To the Oil?” The main message of this report – and certainly the main spin it has been given in statements by government spokespeople and the major media is - “it's all but over, we've accounted for most of the oil, most of it's gone and what's left is disappearing fast”.

But the report's conclusions are at best premature, based in many respects on guesswork, and evidence that didn't fit its conclusions was suppressed. The conclusions drawn from the report and being pushed out broadly to the public are wrong. Leaving aside the dangerous implications this report may lead to in terms of governmental policy, this report is itself an attack on and abuse of science.
read the entire article...

BP Attacks Science and Scientific Integrity - Attempts to Buy Scientists' Silence

BP has been caught attempting to employ scientists engaged in (or likely to engage in) study of the Gulf oil spill under contracts that would "...restrict the scientists from publishing research results, sharing them with other scientists, or even talking about them for up to 3 years". In one case, BP attempted to hire the entire marine science department at one Alabama university.

read more:
BP and Academic Freedom (statement by national president American Association of Unversity Professors)...

BP, Scientists, and Gag Agreements (blog from Mike the Mad Biologist)...

Oil's Stain On Science

by Linda Hooper-Bui (from The Scientist - re-published by LibraryThing)

Functioning as an independent researcher in and around the Gulf of Mexico these days is no simple task. I study insect and plant communities in near-shore habitats fringing the Gulf, and my work has gotten measurably harder in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster. It's not hazardous conditions associated with oil and dispersants that are hampering our scientific efforts. Rather, it's the confidentiality agreements that come with signing up to work on large research projects shepherded by government entities and BP and the limited access to coastal areas if you're not part of those projects that are stifling the public dissemination of data detailing the environmental impact of the catastrophe. read the entire article...

Minerals Management Service (MMS) Suppresses its Scientists
"Managers at the agency have routinely overruled staff scientists whose findings highlight the environmental risks of drilling, according to a half-dozen current or former agency scientists.
"The scientists, none of whom wanted to be quoted by name for fear of reprisals by the agency or by those in the industry, said they had repeatedly had their scientific findings changed to indicate no environmental impact or had their calculations of spill risks downgraded.
'You're simply are not allowed to conclude that the drilling will have an impact,' said one scientist who has worked for the mineral agency for more than a decade.  'If you find the risks of a spill are high or you conclude that a certain species will be affected, your report gets disappeared in a desk drawer and they find another scientis to redo it or they rewrite it for you'." (New York Times, May 13, 2010)
Except for this one article, news of this suppression is itself being suppressed.  And while the MMS is being re-organized, there is no mention of dealing with this suppression of science and scientists.

Attacks on Climate Scientists - National Academy of Science members publish letter of protest
The letter begins: "WE ARE DEEPLY DISTURBED BY THE RECENT ESCALATION OF POLITICAL ASSAULTS ON SCIENTISTS in general and on climate scientists in particular".
read entire letter...



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