Thursday, April 14, 2011

Is NOAA Head, Jane Lubchenco, Providing Cover for BP Over the Gulf Spill?

By CanSpeccy

In a Guardian article entitled Has BP really cleaned up the Gulf oil spill?, Suzanne Goldenberg, reports on the claim by University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye that 50% of the oil spilled by BP in the Gulf of Mexico "is still floating around out there."

However, the head of NOAA, Jane Lubchenco, a highly published former academic ocean scientist, and former President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science says that it is't at all clear there is any oil in the depths and that "we need to make sure that we are not jumping to conclusions."

Lubchenco's warning against jumping to conclusions seems fully justified, since, according to the Guardian piece, Joye observed nothing "floating around out there," only some stuff on the sea floor. Moreover, what she observed was not, according the the Guardian account, identified as oil nor was its extent determined. So the suggestion that 50% of the spilled oil is still "floating around out there" seems entirely unjustified. The claim that the 4-cm-deep deposit of stuff over an unspecified area of the sea floor made the crabs dopey rather suggests that it was not oil, since bathing in oil would surely be lethal.

In view of her track record as an expert in the field and an ardent advocate for the environment, I am very much more inclined to accept Lubchenco's doubts over Joye's unsubstantiated assertions.

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