Local labs get priority in Gulf spill study

A man readies his small shrimping skiff before a run through a bayou near DuLarge, La.


BOB MOON: Months ago British oil company BP promised $500 million for scientists to study the oil spill's impact -- No strings attached. Now there are some.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.

EVE TROEH: A panel of national scientists was supposed to dole out BP's money. Now, Gulf State Governors will have a big hand in that, and local labs will get priority. Some national labs say that means BP won't be funding the best science. It'll be helping Gulf politicians take care of their own.

GEORGE CROZIER: My response would be that "their own" are competent and ready to do this job.

George Crozier runs the Dauphin Island Sea Lab in Alabama. He says bigger labs would normally get most of the money. And that's not fair.

CROZIER: I'm sorry, helping the region looks like a reasonably good objective to me.

In the wake of the spill, federal agencies are likely to fund more national research, so says Scott Pegau at Alaska's Oil Spill Recovery Institute. And he says scientists shouldn't be surprised BP's appeasing locals.

SCOTT PEGAU: You're not gonna necessarily get the best science, but you may get the most appropriate science.

By that, he means BP's acting on a moral obligation. It wants to fund local labs that can best study the ecosystems that the spill hurt the most.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.


I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...