Emails expose BP's efforts to control research into impact of Gulf oil disaster


Emails expose BP's attempts to control research into impact of Gulf oil spill, Guardian, April 15, 2011:

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials discussing how to influence the work of scientists

BP officials tried to take control of a $500m fund pledged by the oil company for independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, it has emerged.

Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists supported by the fund, which was created by the oil company in May last year.

Russell Putt, a BP environmental expert, wrote in an email to colleagues on 24 June 2010: "Can we 'direct' GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor's offices trying to do)? What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?". ...

Another email, written by Karen Ragoonanan-Jalim, a BP environmental officer based in Trinidad, contains minutes of a meeting in Houma, Louisiana, in which officials discussed what kind of studies might best serve the oil company's interests.

Under agenda item two, she writes: "Discussions around GRI and whether or not BP can influence this long-term research programme ($500m) to undertake the studies we believe will be useful in terms of understanding the fate and effects of the oil on the environment, eg can we steer the research in support of restoration ecology?" ...

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