"Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon sank and oil began erupting into the Gulf of Mexico in late April, the 105-year-old Audubon magazine did something that it had never done before—it sent a blogger to cover a breaking news event in real time.
In Alabama, Shelby Co. lawyer John Aaron, a Democrat, is seeking records about possible misuse of BP spill compensation money from State Sen. Ben Brooks, a Republican. The Mobile Press-Register editorializes in favor of disclosing public documents in the matter.
"The federal government hired a New Orleans man for $18,000 to appraise whether news stories about its actions in the Gulf oil spill were positive or negative for the Obama administration, which was keenly sensitive to comparisons between its response and former President George W. Bush's much-maligned reaction to Hurricane Katrina.
BP plans to release today its internal investigation of its own role, and any possible wrongdoing or errors by its own officials, in the Deepwater Horizon blowout disaster. Even though some key BP decisionmakers are not talking to federal investigators -- claiming ill health or the Fifth Amendment -- documents describing what they are alleged to have told BP are coming to light. BP would be legally and financially liable for whatever it finds in its self-investigation. By issuing its report before conclusions come from any government or independent investigations, BP stands to dominate the news media narrative on the disaster. James C. Mckinley Jr. reports for the New York Times September 7, 2010
The Justice Department's refusal to tell the AP where BP's jammed blowout preventer (BOP) is looks like a PR fail. The FBI's reflexive secrecy may be intended to inspire confidence in its investigations -- but secrecy about the obvious and unhideable only convinces many skeptics the FBI is trying to hide further efforts to doctor the evidence. The best way to inspire confidence would be to let the media watch.
"NEW ORLEANS — The Justice Department won't say if the blowout preventer that failed to stop oil from gushing from BP's undersea well into the Gulf of Mexico is on its way to shore. Spokeswoman Hannah August declined comment Monday. The 50-foot, 300-ton device, which was lifted to the surface Saturday, is expected to be analyzed at a NASA facility in Louisiana." Harry R. Weber reports for the Associated Press September 6, 2010.
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.
"White House claims that the worst of the BP oil spill was over were undermined [Thursday] when a senior government scientist said three-quarters of the oil was still in the Gulf environment and a research study detected a 22-mile plume of oil in the ocean depths.
Bill Lehr, a senior scientist at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) departed from an official report from two weeks ago which suggested the majority of the oil had been captured or broken down.
'I would say most of that is still in the environment,' Lehr, the lead author of the report, told the House Energy and Commerce Committee."
"Earlier this month, the federal government claimed that three-quarters of the oil in the Gulf had magically disappeared. But as I reported Wednesday, the federal government has so far refused to provide congressional investigators and the media with the numbers to support that claim. Now, it looks like the official report, with all the data and substantiating material, won't be released for months.
On Wednesday afternoon, during a telephone briefing on the spill for congressional staffers, NOAA scientists said the data might not be available for at least two months. The full report is in the 'process of being written,' according to NOAA, but it won't be made available for 'around a couple months.' The delay, NOAA representatives said, is so the report 'can be peer reviewed.'"