Obama Adminstration hides the Science

I’ve made a promise and vow here to keep everyone apprised of the Gulf Gusher situation (the relief well is still not done) and the ongoing obfuscation of what the scientists say in the region, the press here says, and what gets put out to the country. Two nationally known, mainstream advocacy groups are calling shenanigans today. This is on top of an earlier report by Nature.com this last week that reports that ongoing marine research vessels–from two separate public universities–are finding oil EVERY where in the gulf; including a new plume and a slime highway. Of course you know the meme heard round the world is that the oil has magically disappeared. Well, according to the scientists on the ground, that’s a truth bender too. Here’s two NEW ones.

We’re not seeing a respect for truth or science in the mainstream media and it appears to be part of a disinformation campaign coming from the White House. This worries me tremendously.

A law suit is being filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) charging the Obama administration with a cover up of the scientific assessments of the BP Oil Gusher. They assert that NOAA has been actively passing disinformation and suppressing scientific data under pressure from the White House.

This was taken from a letter from them to me dated today informing supporters of the suit.

According to the White House, one of the major Obama campaign pledges was to “restore scientific integrity in government decision making.” So far, that promise has not been working out so well.

The muddled federal response to the massive BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico illustrated a disturbing absence of scientific transparency and candor in agency decision-making. For example, the decision to apply oil dispersants deep underwater, despite the fact that these chemicals were designed for surface application, was called a “giant experiment.” But experiments need a baseline and, in this instance, the EPA lacked basic data on oil droplet size, information it needed to measure how effective the dispersant would be at breaking up the oil slicks. The long-term consequences of this seat-of-the-pants approval are not known.

Similarly, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) refusal to release of scientific observations about the size and nature of underwater oil plumes is disquieting – as in the controversial “Oil Budget” which estimates that 75% of the BP spill has dissipated or been removed but NOAA has yet to publish the scientific methodology, let alone the actual studies, behind this conclusion.

Today, PEER filed a lawsuit charging the Obama administration with illegally hiding the memos and e-mails behind official scientific assessments of the size of the massive BP Gulf spill. The National Incident Command’s Flow Rate Technical Group was charged with developing an independent estimate of the amount of oil flowing from BP’s leaking oil well. Marcia McNutt, a top Interior Department official, chaired the Technical Group. McNutt issued a public statement that the “Best Estimate” range of flow rates was between 12,000 to 19,000 barrels per day (bpd) but she –

  • Omitted the fact that these were minimum estimates (deleting phrases such as “at least” and “range of lower bounds”) and did not mention completed estimates that were much higher. Significantly, the Technical Group was supposed to look at worst-case, catastrophic scenarios;
  • Withheld the actual technical report and instead released only a summary that she wrote; and
  • Directed that none of the Technical Group documents was subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and that group members should not disclose any materials.

Ultimately, the oil leak rate has been measured in the new well cap system to be 55,000 bpd, a daily flow rate that diminished over time, starting at about 62,000 bpd. These numbers were much higher than the previously released figures – a disparity that has not been explained.

Interior has not released the McNutt e-mails and the suppressed scientific studies – hence the suit. These materials will produce Exhibit A in the case that science is still being manipulated under the current administration.

Brown Pelicans Waiting For Clean Up

So, that’s the first one. The second one comes from National Wildlife Federation which is hardly the bastion of ecoterrorists. This has to do with the reporting of wildlife killed by the gusher. This is posted by Miles Grant on the NWF’s website and again, I was alerted to it by their newsletters and action memo today. The liar this time is the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

For the first time, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) has just released a catalog of bird species impacted by the Gulf oil disaster. The information is being released in the wake of a National Wildlife Federation Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the data.

Laughing gulls, brown pelicans & northern gannets are the species with the highest totals of dead birds. You can see today’s report (PDF) and see future updates at the FWS Deepwater Horizon Response.

It’s unclear at this point why the FWS report lists only 4,676 birds, while the latest Deepwater Horizon Response Consolidated Fish & Wildlife Report lists 8,009 birds.

FWS only released the data a little over an hour ago, so NWF scientists haven’t had time to conduct an in-depth review of the data yet. However, I just spoke with Dr. Doug Inkley, NWF’s senior scientist, who told me his first impression was that with dozens of species listed, it’s clear that a wide diversity of shorebirds were impacted by the Gulf oil disaster.

Is this an ongoing suppression of scientific data during a tough campaign season by an administration that doesn’t want to be associated with an ongoing under-response to a national/international catastrophe? Or are we seeing underreporting and science twisting to protect BP and its donations to political recipients? Is this just more of the old okey doke?

The public has a right to know that all levels of government, this government was, has been, and continues to be asleep at the wheel during the worst environmental disaster in the U.S. history. One that probably rivals Chernobyl if we could only see the science.

I suggest writing your lousy congress critterz and telling them we want to see the science and not the spin NOW!

Some time this week I will have a piece up for you that shows you just how badly the reparations are going down here per the local media from the $20 million dollar relief fund. This is an ongoing tragedy also.

Meanwhile, the right wing news service CNS reports that the White House Science Czar wants to use the free market to de-develop the United States. Let’s just give the real loons more anti-science ammunition, please!!! The STUPID, it HURTS!!!

UPDATE: It looks like CBS news has picked up on the PEER story.

More on the Slime Highway research which also contains graphic description of dead marine life here at Pensacola TV station WKRG.