Processing Magazine

Government’s Handling of Science on Oil Spill Questioned

November 11, 2010

Associated Press reports that the oil spill that damaged the Gulf of Mexico''s reefs and wetlands is also threatening to stain the Obama administration''s reputation for relying on science to guide policy. Academics, environmentalists and federal investigators have accused the administration since the April spill of downplaying scientific findings, misrepresenting data and most recently misconstruing the opinions of experts it solicited. Meanwhile, the owner of the rig that exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, Transocean Ltd., is renewing its argument that federal investigators are in danger of allowing the blowout preventer, a key piece of evidence, to corrode as it awaits forensic analysis. Testing had not begun as of last week, the company says, some two months after it was raised from the seafloor. The latest complaint from scientists comes in a report by the Interior Department''s inspector general, which concluded that the White House edited a drilling safety report in a way that made it falsely appear that scientists and experts supported the administration''s six-month ban on new deep-water drilling. The AP obtained the report early Wednesday.