Gulf Oil Spill Plumes; Feds Took Data And Told Scientists To Shut Up


A shocking article on the St. Petersburg Times reveals that federal government agencies tried to coverup the discovery of massive plumes of underwater oil found by independent scientists.

The scientists say the federal government took their data about the oil plumes and told them to shut up.

When the scientist went public with their findings they say they were discredited by the government and pressured to redact their findings.

The accusations come from several universities including professors from the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of South Florida and follow similar charges of a cover up lodged against NOAA by Discovery earth.

The scientist say when they first reported their scientists to the Coast Guard and NOAA they were told to “shut up”.

A month after the Deepwater Horizon disaster began, scientists from the University of South Florida made a startling announcement. They had found signs that the oil spewing from the well had formed a 6-mile-wide plume snaking along in the deepest recesses of the gulf.

The reaction that USF announcement received from the Coast Guard and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal agencies that sponsored their research:

Shut up.

“I got lambasted by the Coast Guard and NOAA when we said there was undersea oil,” USF marine sciences dean William Hogarth said. Some officials even told him to retract USF’s public announcement, he said, comparing it to being “beat up” by federal officials.

The scientists said that instead of the Government responding positively the Government tried to discredit their findings and pressured them to redact their findings.

The USF scientists weren’t alone. Vernon Asper, an oceanographer at the University of Southern Mississippi, was part of a similar effort that met with a similar reaction. “We expected that NOAA would be pleased because we found something very, very interesting,” Asper said. “NOAA instead responded by trying to discredit us. It was just a shock to us.”

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, in comments she made to reporters in May, expressed strong skepticism about the existence of undersea oil plumes — as did BP’s then-CEO, Tony Hayward.

“She basically called us inept idiots,” Asper said. “We took that very personally.”

Ironically, while BP and NOAA denied the existence of underwater plumes of oil both the federal government and BP participated in a multi-year study which found underwater plumes of oil and methane were created by deepwater spills.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco responded to the claims from the scientists by claiming the Federal Government wanted to make sure the plumes existed before they speculated about the findings.

“We had solid evidence, rock solid,” Asper said fired back at Lubchenco’s justifications for trying to silence the findings. “We weren’t speculating.” If he had to do it over again, he said, he’d do it all exactly the same way, despite Lubchenco’s ire.”

Hogarth also goes onto to attack the Federal Government for basically stealing their research data and not even sharing the findings with the teams who first discovered and mapped the underwater plumes of oil.

USF’s first NOAA-sponsored voyage to take samples after Deepwater Horizon, the one that turned up evidence of the undersea plumes, was designed to gather evidence for use in an eventual court case against BP and other oil companies involved in the disaster. At the end of the voyage, USF turned its samples over to NOAA, expecting to get either a shared analysis or the samples themselves back. So far, Hogarth said, they’ve received neither.

NOAA’s top oil spill scientist, Steve Murawski, said Monday that he was “sure we will release the data” at some point. However, he said, because NOAA has collected so many samples over the past three months, when it comes to the samples from USF’s trip in May, “I’m not sure where they are.”

It should also be noted that while the government is not sharing oil spill data with the public or independent scientists but immediately turns over all data to BP.

The federal government is also currently under attack by many independent scientists who say that the government report last week saying that most of the oil is gone from the Gulf.

Lubchenco’s agency came under fire last week for a new report that said “the vast majority” of the oil from Deepwater Horizon had been taken care of. Scientists who read the report closely said it actually said half the oil was still unaccounted for.

Lubchenco said anyone who read the report as saying the oil was gone read it wrong.

“Out of sight and diluted does not mean benign,” she said.

The Feds still claim they can’t find any oil but satellite photos shows the BP Gulf Oil Spill covering over 12,000 square miles of water.




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