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.
The Lafayette superintendent insists the budget is illegal and vows to fight on.
"I am not a scientist," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell has said numerous times, a response that other members of his party have parroted.
Republicans are running strong races against endangered Democratic incumbents in states such as North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, Louisiana and Alaska. Republicans are also looking to replace retiring Democrats in Iowa and West Virginia with a GOP lawmaker.
Republican congressman Vance McAllister is trying to make up to Louisiana voters for getting too close to a married former employee.
You may not like all of “it,” but U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, unlike many of her colleagues, isn't sitting around twiddling her thumbs in Congress.
Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro says he "can't wait" to play against Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
The heat keeps rising for Iberia Parish Sheriff Louis Ackal as a new slate of corruption allegations surfaced this week.
If opposing defenses sell out to stop the Packers' passing game, they risk being gashed by powerful running back Eddie Lacy, a New Orleans-area native.
At the horn the officiating crew trotted to the tunnel and left security personnel to clean up after them.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Sign "ninjas" cleaning up clutter; NYC doctor positive for Ebola; Ferguson grand jury decision nears; and more national and international news for Friday, October 24, 2014.
We can safely assume incumbent Chief K.P. Gibson isn’t too worried about this challenger.
Nationally, Republicans must gain six seats to win Senate control. The most competitive races, many in states where Obama lost in 2012, remain too close to call.
The Baton Rouge Republican has repeatedly battled a perception within his own party that he perhaps wasn't the best choice to carry the GOP banner.
Even if Jimmy Graham's production dips while the star tight end recovers from a shoulder injury, it looks like Drew Brees won't have much trouble finding other targets.
A former campaign manager for Senate candidate Rob Maness is striking at the Republican contender's tea party support, saying Maness only sought to appeal to conservative organizations because he needed money for his campaign.
Ninety-two percent of public school teachers were rated either effective or highly effective in a report the state issued marking the second year of a new statewide evaluation process.
School board members Mark Babineaux, Hunter Beasley and Tehmi Chassion can vote to fire Cooper — because we all know that’s exactly what they’ll do.
District 2 school board candidate Simon Mahan is hoping to unseat first-term incumbent and former Carencro Mayor Tommy Angelle in the Nov. 4 election.
District Attorney Mike Harson is showing his desperation by falsely attributing quotes to his opponent and blocking journalists from his social media.
The governor is traveling the country laying the groundwork for a possible 2016 presidential campaign, but his approval ratings at home hover well below 50 percent.
State District Judge Bob Downing extended the order and delayed a planned Wednesday hearing about a permanent injunction while negotiations continue between Attorney General Buddy Caldwell and the waste disposal site operator.
New Louisiana higher education commissioner Joseph Rallo will be paid more than his predecessor.
Elijah McGuire and Alonzo Harris each had four rushing touchdowns, and Louisiana-Lafayette rolled to 419 yards on the ground in a 55-40 victory over Arkansas State on Tuesday night.
Bill and Hillary Clinton are the validators-in-chief for Democrats struggling through a bleak campaign season in states where President Barack Obama is deeply unpopular.