BP Demands Scientist Emails in Gulf Oil Spill Lawsuit
What effect does drawing scientists into legal battles have on how science is conducted?
BP has subpoenaed the private emails of scientists who studied the Deepwater Horizon oil catastrophe, stoking fears of misinformation campaigns and researcher intimidation.
The situation “should concern all those who value the principles of academic freedom and responsibility, and believe these principles to be essential to the integrity of the deliberative scientific process,” wrote Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution president Susan Avery and research director Laurence Madin in a statement released June 3.
On the same day, WHOI oceanographers Christopher Reddy and Richard Camilli announced in a Boston Globe commentary that they’d given to BP 3,000 confidential emails requested by the company in December 2011.
BP hopes the emails will help in its ongoing legal battle over the exact volume of oil released by the blown-out Macondo wellhead in the spring and summer of 2010. The volume will determine BP’s financial liabilities, and Reddy and Camilli led the WHOI research team that calculated the now-accepted estimate of 4.9 million barrels.
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