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BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense
07-17-2010, 04:11 PM,
#1
Star  BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense
BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense, roiling academic community

The entire article can be accessed at this link.

Interesting excerpt from this article posted below.

[beginning of excerpt--]

For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.

BP PLC attempted to hire the entire marine sciences department at one Alabama university
, according to scientists involved in discussions with the company's lawyers.

The university declined because of confidentiality restrictions that the company sought on any research.

The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.

"We told them there was no way we would agree to any kind of restrictions on the data we collect. It was pretty clear we wouldn't be hearing from them again after that," said Bob Shipp, head of marine sciences at the University of South Alabama. "We didn't like the perception of the university representing BP in any fashion."

BP officials declined to answer the newspaper's questions about the matter. Among the questions: how many scientists and universities have been approached, how many are under contract, how much will they be paid, and why the company imposed confidentiality restrictions on scientific data gathered on its behalf.

Shipp said he can't prohibit scientists in his department from signing on with BP because, like most universities, the staff is allowed to do outside consultation for up to eight hours a week.

More than one scientist interviewed by the Press-Register described being offered $250 an hour through BP lawyers.

At eight hours a week, that amounts to $104,000 a year.

Scientists from Louisiana State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Texas A&M have reportedly accepted, according to academic officials.

Scientists who study marine invertebrates, plankton, marsh environments, oceanography, sharks and other topics have been solicited.

The contract makes it clear that BP is seeking to add scientists to the legal team that will fight the Natural Resources Damage Assessment lawsuit that the federal government will bring as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

The government also filed a NRDA suit after the Exxon Valdez spill.

In developing its case, the government will draw on the large amount of scientific research conducted by academic institutions along the Gulf. Many scientists being pursued by BP serve at those institutions.

[end of excerpt]

The entire article can be accessed at this link.
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07-17-2010, 06:53 PM,
#2
RE: BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense
I read this one this morning. Nice to see public institutions involved in protecting private multi-national foreign based corporations. I suppose this is the status quo, with $1.2B spent on guarding 20 people just last month and the military guarding pipelines and heroin crops.

Dugg: http://digg.com/environment/BP_buying_up_Gulf_scientists_to_silence_them

Also worth noting from the article:

Quote:Scientists from Louisiana State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Texas A&M have reportedly accepted, according to academic officials.

Quote:With its payments, BP buys more than the scientists' services, according to Wiygul. It also buys silence, he said, thanks to confidentiality clauses in the contracts.

"It makes me feel like they were more interested in making sure we couldn't testify against them than in having us testify for them," said George Crozier, head of the Dauphin Island Sea Lab, who was approached by BP.
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
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07-17-2010, 08:34 PM, (This post was last modified: 07-17-2010, 08:40 PM by h3rm35.)
#3
RE: BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense
Quote:The contract makes it clear that BP is seeking to add scientists to the legal team that will fight the Natural Resources Damage Assessment lawsuit that the federal government will bring as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

The government also filed a NRDA suit after the Exxon Valdez spill.

In developing its case, the government will draw on the large amount of scientific research conducted by academic institutions along the Gulf. Many scientists being pursued by BP serve at those institutions.

I'm sure they're horribly worried about ending up like Exxon:

On March 24, 1989 at 4 minutes past midnight, the oil tanker Exxon Valdez struck a reef in Alaska's spectacular Prince William Sound. An environmental nightmare began that changed not only Prince William Sound, but the world. No longer would people blindly believe promises from corporations that their operations were completely safe.

A total of 11,000,000 gallons of Alaska North Slope crude oil leaked from the ruptured hull of the ship, impaled by the jagged rocks of Bligh Reef. Within two months, the oil had been driven along a path stretching 470 miles to the southwest (map).

The initial cleanup of the spill took three years, and the cost was over $2.1 billion. The death toll in terms of wildlife was staggering, the full impact may never be known. On October 8, 1991, an agreement was reached between the State of Alaska, the federal government, and Exxon on both criminal charges and civil damage claims.

* In settlement of civil charges, Exxon would pay the State of Alaska and the United States $900 million over a 10-year period. This money would be used for restoration and would be administered by six government Trustees; three federal, three state.
* In settlement of criminal charges, Exxon would pay a fine of $250 million. Two "restitution funds" of $50 million each were established, one under state control and one under federal authority. Against strong opposition from many Alaskans, $125 million of the balance was forgiven due to Exxon's cooperation during the cleanup, and upgraded safety procedures to prevent a reoccurrence. The remaining $25 million was divided between the Victims of Crime Act account ($13 million) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Fund ($12 million).

On September 16, 1994, a jury in federal court returned a $5 billion punitive damages verdict against Exxon. The company, however, has appealed several times since that time; on August 4, 1998, the Anchorage Daily News reported that:

Apparently, delay pays. Exxon is earning $90,000 an hour, about $2 millon a day or nearly $800 million a year, on the same $5 billion as long as the case drags on and the money stays in its coffers. As it stands now, if the appeals linger a couple of more years, Exxon will have earned enough interest alone to pay the $5 billion plus the accrued interest.

The $5 billion verdict was finally overturned by a panel of the 9th Circuit Court in November 2001.
Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:51pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday threw out the record $2.5 billion in punitive damages that Exxon Mobil Corp had been ordered to pay for the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill off Alaska, the nation's worst tanker spill.

By a 5-3 vote, the high court ruled that the punitive damages award should be slashed to a maximum amount equal to the total relevant compensatory damages of $507.5 million.
from what I hear, Exxon Mobil is now considering purchasing BP.
[Image: conspiracy_theory.jpg]
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07-17-2010, 09:40 PM,
#4
RE: BP buys up Gulf scientists for legal defense
BP has a ton of credit default swaps out on itself. It's basically a derivatives bet that banks they will fail. It could also be termed as a corporate life insurance policy. I'd gamble that the big banks and investment funds have a few BP CDSs on the books too. They stand to gain more if they go bankrupt. They will fail and their holdings and assets will get divied up to the highest bidder among Shell, ExxonMobil, Husky, Chevron, LukOil and the not often talked about and the biggest oil company of them all PertoChina.

Another note for the financial side is that if all those fissures rupture and we have a volcanoes of methane, benzene and crude oil, insurance companies can claim that it was an "Act of God" and wiggle out of massive insurance compensations. Heck they may as well be honest and get out of it using the terrorism exception clause.
There are no others, there is only us.
http://FastTadpole.com/
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