Monday, September 13, 2010

BP's Oil on the Bottom

The New York Times reported independent scientists lack funding to continue their work on the impact of BP's oil spew.

The only federal agency to distribute any significant grant money for oil spill research, the National Science Foundation, is out of money until the next fiscal year begins Oct. 1. The Environmental Protection Agency, which has only $2 million to give out, is still gearing up its program. A $500 million initiative for independent research promised by BP, which was to be awarded by an international panel of scientists, has become mired in a political fight over control. State agencies, too, are stymied.

BP's Gulf Research Initiative is in flux:

Governors of the Gulf States still wanted more local control of the money, and in mid-June the White House backed them up, announcing, “As a part of this initiative, BP will work with governors, and state and local environmental and health authorities to design the long-term monitoring program to assure the environmental and public health of the gulf region.”

Those doing the work are not impressed by political wrangling:

Scientists are skeptical of the gulf alliance, in part because it is controlled by agencies rather than universities, and the public silence surrounding the negotiations has raised suspicions.

“It looks like maybe BP caved,” said Gary M. King, a microbial ecologist at Louisiana State University. “There’s no sense of trust that a group of governors are actually going to do the right thing and ensure that there will be good science.”

BP was a Founder level sponsor of the Southern Governor's Association meeting. I'm sure BP would love skewed science as much as it appreciated a risk shifting accident investigation report.

One month ago, independent scientists were frustrated by lack of access to the Gulf and by strong arm security tactics, which included seizing of samples.

NOAA stated in the ABCNews clip:

We are “working with academic scientists to monitor aggressively where the oil is subsurface.”

One method is:

Gary Ott with NOAA said crews are using oysters to make sure there is no oil sinking to the bottom of the gulf. No oysters have tested positive for oil.

Meanwhile, other scientists take core samples of the bottom and find two inches of oil. Who will get funding to continue their work?

BP's investigative report blamed everyone else. It didn't touch areas where the company had full responsibility. How might government continue BP's risk shift via "scientific studies"?

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