Pro-“Safe Seafood” Presentation to 8th Graders Reveals Cozy BP-NOAA Partnership; School Officials Under Fire for Accepting $23,000 “Contribution” from BP


School officials in Houma, La., continue to feel the heat for allowing a pro-BP, pro-“safe seafood” presentation to 8th graders. The sham of a presentation went viral after it used chocolate powder in a 10-gallon aquarium to represent the Gulf oil and dish-washing fluid to illustrate toxic dispersant. Now school officials say a $23,000 “contribution” to the school before the event was just coincidental.

Granted, this somewhat amusing controversy is tiny in the grand scheme of this disaster. But it does clearly illustrate the way BP continues to use its money to, shall we say, buy science that serves its purposes. It also reveals the ongoing cozy partnership between NOAA and BP. This was a NOAA demonstration – a government employee conducted the presentation. But BP helped with the setup, and in a news release about the event, a BP media liaison named Janella Newsome stated that the demonstration would “dispel myths about dispersants, subsurface oil and seafood safety.”

If BP officials have the focus, time and money to work at this level – and clearly they do – just imagine what they’re doing elsewhere. If money is flowing and demonstrations are given to 8th graders at Oaklawn Junior High, what are they up to at our colleges and universities? And if NOAA, which is supposed to be on “our” side (but that’s laughable now), is totally comfortable peddling classroom propaganda alongside BP, what does that tell us?

This story has legs because it illustrates way more that its organizers meant to reveal.

Read about the latest round in the Houma Today newspaper:

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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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