BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense, roiling academic community
Ben Raines, Press-Register -- July 16, 2010
More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers. At eight hours a week, that amounts to $104,000 a year.
The contract makes it clear that BP is seeking to add scientists to the legal team that will fight the Natural Resources Damage Assessment lawsuit that the federal government will bring as a result of the Gulf oil spill.
Is it their Scientific Expertise, that they want --
Or their Scientific Silence?
[Continuing from the previous link ...]
For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.
The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.
The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.
Sounds like BP wants to buy their Silence.
Sounds familar. BP's hired hands for clean up and skimming -- face similar Free Speech Restrictions.
The sound of silence ... is Golden, I guess ...
National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who is filing suit, on behave of the Gulf Coast Eco-systems, has blown the whistle, on this questionable effort by BP to corral up all the local Marine Scientists, to their side of the Legal ledger.
NRDC, has no problem, with the Funding of the Scientific Studies, per se -- just with BP's insistence on Veto Power over those Study's results.
Report: BP Looks To Buy Up Gulf Coast Scientists
Oil Giant Apparently Offering Lucrative Pay to Academics in Order To Aid Against Lawsuits
CBS News -- July 16, 2010
The National Resources Defense Council has also claimed that BP is seeking to obstruct scientific research. BP earlier announced it had earmarked $500 million to scientists to study the oil spill. But the NRDC said the oil company is simply buying the cooperation of the scientists who collect valuable data.
In a letter to BP's CEO Tony Hayward, NRDC director Peter Lehner said the company should give the money to an independent entity like the National Academy of Sciences, which would then dole out the sums to other scientists. "Anything less must be construed as BP's attempt to control the study," NRDC blogger Sarah Chasis said.
Peter Lehner, Executive Director of NRDC, spells out some their Scientific expectations that BP needs to follow, IF the Science they underwrite, is to be considered independent, unbiased, and ultimately Valid ...
June 14, 2010
Tony Hayward, CEO, BP
To ensure that the $500 million is spent in a way that advances scientific understanding of key issues, research should be selected, funded, overseen and disseminated so as to produce accurate results and greater public and scientific understanding, not in ways that distort or appear to distort the research agenda or research results, or that mislead the public about the true impact of the disaster.
- The money should be put into a fund overseen by an entity that is completely independent of BP and any other oil industry ties or influence.
- The data and research results from the research that BP funds must be made public. BP should have no control whatsoever over the design of the research, its conclusions or its publication.
- BP must not ask scientists to limit their ability to testify in court or elsewhere for any party.
Executive Director, NRDC
In this age, where nearly everything has its Price -- without much concern for the consequences of "stacking the deck" ... or "Regulatory Corner-Cutting" ...
I guess were about to find out if the Gulf Coast Environment, and the essential Science necessary to spell out the Impacts of Big Oil's "uncontrolled experiment" --
I guess were about to see if that Pursuit of Science, has its Price as well?
Hmmm, If BP can
buy up simply hire, entire University Depts -- does their clout extend to Governmental Depts too ... one wonders?
Where are the Scientists of NOAA and EPA and FWS and USGS and MMS ???
And will they be studying the Gulf Impacts?
Or studying just the 'same stuff' they did last year? (The science of 'Status Quo', don't ya know?)
WHEN will American Scientists Step up -- and say in one quiet, insistent Voice:
Let the Facts Stand.