Tuesday, August 10, 2010

BP, DOJ & Entrix Stranglehold Scientists

Biologist Linda Hooper-Bui revealed the reason for no test results on Gulf Coast fish kills. Dead sea creatures are part of the Natural Resources Damage Assessment (NRDA). BP contracted the job to Entrix.

Any scientist wanting to conduct testing must formally participate in the NRDA:

They must sign a contract that includes a confidentiality agreement” that “prevents signees from releasing information from studies and findings until authorized by the Department of Justice at some later and unspecified date.”

If they don't participate in the NRDA scientists can't get full access to contaminated sites or research data. They might be lucky to keep samples as many have been "confiscated by US Fish and Wildlife officials and expeditions blocked by local law enforcement," not to mention the Obama administration blocking access via the Coast Guard and the FAA.

Preparing for lawsuits has little to do with open scientific research or good disaster response, both of which prize communication and information sharing. Risk management and lawsuit prep are information black holes.

When will the public learn of whale carcass chop shops or the military's exploding any evidence? If BP and the government have their way, never. Armed guards patrol landfills. Would they shoot a scientist sneaking in to get tissue samples?

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