Oil Spill Researchers: All For One and One For All…Except NOAA


It’s a challenge not to say “about time!” but down in St. Pete, Florida, this week more than 100 oil spill researchers, including some who work with me and my clients, are gathering to compare notes on the BP oil spill. And all this at an event arranged by the government, no less.

The idea is to share findings and discuss the science of the spill. It’s a sort of scientific summit, and it will be interesting to see what comes of it. Yet even in what amounts to a good thing, NOAA continues to piss me (and others) off.

Take this, for example, from a local news report: “I think the general feeling is that agencies are highly competitive,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Steve Murawski told the crowd. “We get about 200 oil spills per year, and it’s very rare that the academic side gets involved.”

The report continues: “While it’s exciting to have the academic, government and private agencies all working on the same spill, it can create a confusing glut of information, Murawski said. This is why it’s important to work together. ‘Those models that projected the oil spill reaching halfway to England, I think we really need to scratch our heads and wonder what went on there,’ he said.”

Right. Those post-spill, on-the-fly models that didn’t pan out, that’s where Mr. Murawski would focus. The rest of us will, no doubt, focus on the pre-spill, take-your-time BP models that underplayed every single aspect of the spill.

Here’s the story: http://www.tampabay.com/news/environment/deepwater-horizon-oil-spill-brings-highly-competitive-researchers-together/1126161

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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