Emails Show BP Trying to Tamper With Oil Spill Studies

Greenpeace digs dirt with Freedom of Information Act request
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 15, 2011 10:40 AM CDT
In this April 21, 2010 file photo, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burns in the Gulf of Mexico.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(Newser) – In the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, BP created a $500 million fund for independent research into the disaster. But in emails obtained by Greenpeace under the Freedom of Information Act, BP officials talk openly about how they can manipulate that research, the Guardian reports. “Can we ‘direct’ GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study?” one BP environmental expert asks. “What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies?”

The emails don’t indicate that BP was actually successful in influencing the studies, but they are likely to stoke fears that BP has too much influence over reports that could affect its future liability. BP’s not alone in its political machinations, however; other Greenpeace documents reveal that both the NOAA and the EPA clashed with the White House over its portrayal of the crisis. The NOAA, for instance, demanded a correction after the administration claimed the “vast majority” of the oil had left the Gulf.

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