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 Board of Elementary and Secondary Education has stalled action on a $3.5 billion annual school funding formula due to state lawmakers by March 15.
The New Orleans Saints have yet to make it official as of this writing, but popular wide receiver Lance Moore has reportedly been cut by the team to free up salary-cap space on the roster.
While two medical marijuana bills are slated for the upcoming legislative session, what some Louisianans might not know is that the plant was approved for therapeutic use by state lawmakers in 1991.
The agenda is shaping up to be lighter than in previous years. But Jindal is term-limited, with fewer than two years remaining in office, and he saw his last big initiative — a proposed rewrite of Louisiana tax law — collapse without getting a vote in 2013.
Sharper has been held without bail because of an arrest warrant issued by Louisiana authorities accusing him and another man of raping two women.
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, March 07, 2014:
Two Lafayette men have been revealed by police as the infamous duo behind a caper that shook our fair city to its core.
The Lafayette Parish School Board has received a second letter of demand related to last year’s insurance debacle, this time from Key Benefit Administrators claiming it’s owed $93,000 from the school system.
The Louisiana coastline is vanishing faster than mappers can keep track.
A bill that would have overridden local ordinances prohibiting public and private employers from discriminating against lesbian, gay and transgender people has been pulled within less than a week of being filed.
The panel that selects nominees for a controversial New Orleans area flood control board — a board that is suing more than 90 oil, gas and pipeline companies — is set to discuss legislation affecting its independence.
State prison officials cannot keep secret the seller and manufacturer of the two drugs purchased for executions at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
State lawmakers will not appeal a judge's ruling that it was improper to use $3.7 million from a probation and parole officers' retirement fund to balance the state's operating budget.
Conservatives have been losing their minds over this satirical bit on the Colbert Report.
The Lafayette Parish School Board leaves a lot to be desired, but is scrapping the election process in favor of an appointed board the answer?
The House approved legislation Tuesday night to roll back a recently enacted overhaul of the federal flood insurance program, after homeowners in flood-prone areas complained about sharp premium increases.
The NFL has formally designated New Orleans' Jimmy Graham as a tight end for the purposes of his franchise tag value, which is now set at $7.05 million next season unless Graham and the Saints subsequently agree on a long-term deal.
A federal appeals panel ruled Monday that businesses don't have to prove that they were directly harmed by BP's 2010 Gulf Of Mexico oil spill to collect settlement payments.
The Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has closed Interstate 10 from I-49 in Lafayette to Seigen Lane in Baton Rouge.
Jim Bernhard, who engineered the sale of The Shaw Group for $3 billion, recently has told several people involved in Democratic politics that he intends to run for governor in 2015.
A New Orleans levee board wants to hold the oil and gas industry accountable for decades of damage to our state’s coastline, but the Legislature may be poised to put the kibosh on the suit.
New standards curb elective induction
CVS stops tobacco sales
If an Acadia Parish fiddler misses a note while swatting a fly, will a St. Martinville accordionist learn “Ma ‘Tite Fille”?
(It's good, it's bad and it's just crazy)