Having just been caught fudging the numbers on Gulf spill impacts, the federal government, with no apparent legal authority, is kicking independent scientists out of public areas in the Gulf and confiscating data and notes. The story came out on NPR's Science Friday, the complete audio of which is available online now here. Or here.
It has been known for some while that scientists have been pushed to sign non-disclosure agreements if they are involved in the BP spill "Natural Resource Damage Assessment." But there are now numerous credible reports of independent academic scientists not involved in the NRDA being told to leave public gulf waters and lands by agents of the Fish & Wildlife Service and Dept. of Homeland Security. Scientists' samples and notes are being confiscated, even when the notes do not pertain to the secret areas.
Federal agents told research scientists that they could not do independent research in public areas without approval of the "Unified Command." It was the "Unified Command" that compiled the work of federal scientists, interpreted it, and published the Obama administration's preferred conclusions without data or documentation in the now-discredited August 4 report that said 3/4 of the oil was gone. A NOAA representative yesterday refused to give a Congressional committee the data on which the Obama White House's conclusions were based.
The story was laid out in a segment produced by Annette Heist on the August 20, 2010, edition of Science Friday, with a panel including Linda Hooper-Bui of Louisiana State University A&M, Christopher D'Elia of LSU, and Cary Nelson of the American Assn. of University Professors. Audio should be available here by 6 pm ET Aug.20.
Some of the events recounted by Dr.. Hooper-Bui were published in an opinion piece, "Oil's Stain on Science," in The Scientist August 5, 2010. Or available without registration here.
SEE ALSO:"Murky Relationships Mark Scientific Efforts to Assess Gulf Spill's Impacts," Greenwire, August 18, 2010, by Laura Petersen