Florida scientists who discovered where the "missing" BP oil was going in the Gulf of Mexico are complaining that two federal agencies tried to shut them up.
Their startling May 2010 announcement that research boats had discovered a 6-mile long underwater oil plume was greeted with shushing from the Coast Guard and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, according to a report by Craig Pittman of the St. Petersburg Times.
Pittman talked to scientists from the University of South Florida and the University of Southern Mississippi who said the agencies warned them not to be so public with their findings.
The findings were news — urgent news — with enormous consequences. BP's CEO Tony Hayward had denied the existence of underwater oil — which would have saved his company huge sums if the denial were true. The scientists, of course, had evidence, and another month of sampling and analysis only confirmed and strengthened their findings.
- "USF Says Government Tried To Squelch Their Oil Plume Findings," St. Petersburg Times, August 9, 2010, by Craig Pittman.
- "NOAA Tried to Silence Reports of Undersea Oil Plumes," Mother Jones, August 10, 2010, by Kate Sheppard.
- "Report: Government Tried To Squelch Reports of 'Plumes'," Post Carbon, August 10, 2010, by David Fahrenthold.
- "Researchers Firm on Oil Data," Tampa Bay Online, August 11, 2010, by Rob Shaw.