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.
While much of the talk was about whether New Orleans could win a big game — or any game, for that matter — on the road, the conversation in the Saints' locker room was about something completely different.
State health officials told thousands of doctors planning to attend a tropical diseases meeting this weekend in New Orleans to stay away if they have been to certain African countries or have had contact with an Ebola patient in the last 21 days.
Republicans are calling on Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu to apologize after she suggested Thursday that President Barack Obama's deep unpopularity in the South is partly tied to race.
Compared to the rest of the country, Lafayette has it pretty good when it comes to the cost and speed of our Internet.
Hello Kitty turns 40; police ambush suspect caught; Knicks surprise Cavs and more national and international news for Friday, October 31, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
The Lafayette City-Parish Council will consider on Tuesday a revised plan to the transform a block in Downtown Lafayette into a mixed-use residential-retail-commercial development that doesn’t include giving title to the property to the Lafayette Public Trust Finance Authority, an arrangement the council rejected earlier this month.
Trying to combat the national undertones of Louisiana's U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Mary Landrieu is traveling the state this week on a sort of pork celebration tour, telling voters about the projects and aid she's delivered to Louisiana.
Ever thought that big, pink Gulf coast shrimp you ordered at the restaurant or bought from the store didn't taste juicy or salty enough? Maybe it wasn't from the Gulf.
The state treasurer won't sign financial documents needed for $200 million in borrowing or for a refinancing of existing debt until he believes they accurately explain the surplus disagreement.
Bill Cassidy voted for 97 percent of the bills signed by Barack Obama.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is joining South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley on her campaign bus tour.
A New Iberia man has been sentenced to life in prison for killing a 4-year-old girl and scalding her 3-year-old brother.
A district judge decided Wednesday against sanctioning attorney/school board candidate Dawn Morris for her behind-the-scenes role in a lawsuit against Mark Cockerham.
Secretary of State Tom Schedler says Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration may have improperly destroyed records in the state employee health insurance program, in the middle of a heavily-criticized rewrite of benefit plans.
Paper cites the former ADA's "experience as a prosecutor, his demonstrated integrity, and his ideas for reshaping the [DA's] office" in urging voters to support Keith Stutes Nov. 4.
Louisiana officials have sent a letter to the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene un-inviting members of the group who have recently been to ebola-affected West African countries from attending the group’s annual conference in New Orleans next week.
Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints have to find a way to win on the road if they plan to take over first place in the NFC South.
"It is obvious that Louisiana economic performance has not outperformed the South or the United States as a whole and, in fact, has substantially underperformed..."
A state district judge said he will rule Friday on a preliminary injunction to keep some charter schools from receiving $60 million through Louisiana's public school financing formula.
Saints fans were to gather, make merry, eat/drink compliments of a new Downtown group and watch the Saints beat Carolina and claim 1st place in the NFC South. But...
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram doesn't see his dramatic spike in production as any sort of validation.
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu is facing off one last time with her two main Republican challengers before next week's election.
He’s pulling for Knezek and Hidalgo on his end of the parish but issued endorsements in three other districts as well.