Two scientists, hired by a New Orleans law firm to conduct independent research in the Gulf, say they recently received some intimidating phone calls from attorneys representing the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling. WWL-TV in New Orleans reports that Dr. William Sawyer, a Florida-based toxicologist, and Marco Kaltofen, a scientist and head of Boston Chemical Data in Massachusetts, began receiving calls from the commission after posting data online that showed alarming levels of toxic hydrocarbons in water column. The researchers were both hired to conduct their studies by the New Orleans-based Smith Stag law firm, which specializes in environmental and personal injury law and has been assisting landowners and commercial fishermen in filing claims against BP. Sawyer and Kaltofen claim the commission attorneys asked if there research was meant to disprove findings by the federal government or impugn the commission and then began questioning whether the scientists had all the necessary permits to continue their work.
The oil spill commission was established by President Obama in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon tragedy to study the cause and impact of the spill, and make policy recommendations based on their findings. In response to the accusations, Commission Press Secretary Dave Cohen released a statement to WWL noting that Sawyer was "...One of many experts with whom we were having discussions to gain insights and possibly serve as expert panelists before the commission.... We deeply regret if any question we may have asked created a misunderstanding."
The incident has already prompted Congressman Joseph Cao of New Orleans to call for a Congressional investigation into the matter. Cao released the following statement in a press release last night:
Today, I was informed that attorneys from the President's oil spill commission were contacting independent researchers who are studying the Gulf's toxicity and possibly attempting to suppress their findings by questioning the researchers' permit status. I also found out WWL-TV has uncovered information which appears to contradict statements made just yesterday by federal representatives that there is no contamination in Gulf seafood. The public has a right to know whether or not the water and our seafood are safe based on the best data available. I’m concerned the Administration is not taking this issue as seriously as it should be. So I have decided to call for an investigation by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on which I sit.
We will be offering our recommendations on the constitutional amendments tomorrow.
The justices did not comment in leaving in place lower court rulings that dismissed the lawsuits against BP and other companies involved in the worst U.S. offshore oil spill.
White registration is down by 7,700 voters while black registration has shot up by 7,100 voters.
Even though it had been rumored for months, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu finally pulled the trigger recently on a major campaign shakeup that moved control over to a few Big Easy insiders.
Louisiana's health department says it will seek law changes to stop billing sexual assault victims for exams and tests.
It wasn’t the historic slashes to higher ed funding or the ensuing tuition spikes that recently had LSU’s student body and faculty riled up in collective outrage.
Urgent Care clinics unprepared for Ebola; Nazis collected Social Security; Hawaii dodges a bullet and more national and international news for Monday, October 20, 2014.
Monday's Blogs from the Bog!
Will $400 be enough for the re-election campaign of LPSB's Hunter Beasley to overcome two years of holding our school system hostage and hurting the education of our children all because of a personal dislike of the superintendent?
Saints tight end Jimmy Graham said Friday he expects his playing status in Detroit to be decided by coach Sean Payton on Sunday, shortly before the game.
Lawmakers have sidestepped a decision on whether they accept claims from Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration that the state closed last year's books with a nearly $179 million surplus.
Coming off the high of a fourth quarter comeback against Tampa Bay and a helpful bye week, linebacker Junior Galette sees a real turnaround coming for New Orleans' struggling defense.
Former President Bill Clinton, the Democratic Party's most popular surrogate this fall, is heading to Louisiana early next week for a campaign rally with U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu.
Time and again you hear people say DA Mike Harson is unbeatable because he's doled out political favors over the past 20 years. But a new lawsuit could end that speculation.
After the season's signature win (so far), here are some helpful tips for Cajun Nation during the conference stretch.
Did the state close last year's books with a surplus or a deficit?
Practicing without limitations on Wednesday, running back Mark Ingram looked ready to return to a New Orleans offense that once again ranks among the NFL's best when the Saints play at Detroit on Sunday.
It’s been decided: Superintendents of Louisiana’s public school system will retain the controversial powers granted by Act 1 of the 2012 session.
Louisiana Treasurer John Kennedy has a bone to pick with the Jindal administration, which recently — surprise! — announced that the state ended the most recent budget year with a $178.5 million dollar surplus.
The messaging battle, however, isn't tied to individual campaign accounts. Third-party groups have poured millions of dollars into advertising.
With her political future in jeopardy, Sen. Mary Landrieu is turning to a natural constituent base in her re-election bid.
Terrance Broadway threw for a touchdown and rushed for 113 yards to lead Louisiana-Lafayette to a 34-10 victory over Texas State on Tuesday night.
Aligned with the party of an unpopular president, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu sought to keep her distance from the Obama administration, against claims from her chief Republican challenger Bill Cassidy that a vote to re-elect the Democratic incumbent was a vote for Barack Obama.
Seven people in Louisiana and two others in Mississippi have been arrested in connection with an international online sales scam.
Despite the hype and potential misinformation to have spread in the wake of Mark Cockerham’s recent departure from the LPSB, his candidacy for reelection is still on — now with the backing of the Chamber's Empower PAC.