In the ongoing race with time to document the effects of the BP oil spill on marine life in the Gulf, the loser will be you and me. That’s because the funding for research scientists who work at Southern state universities, and who have been scrambling to document the spill, is drying up, the New York Times reports.

Federal funding has been exhausted on one hand, or hasn’t cleared the red tape of bureaucracy. And a $500 million offer from BP for research is snarled in a political fight over wh o— the federal government, Southern governors or state universities — will control distribution.

Meanwhile research that is being done, either by the federal Natural Damage Resource Assessment to ascertain what will comprise the federal lawsuit, or commissioned by BP’s legal team, is restricted.

Late summer is spawning season for many species, including Louisiana’s crabs, shrimp and oysters. The research drought directly affects those scientists who have been studying oil in larval marine life, like Harriet M. Perry, the director of the fisheries program at the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, who documented droplets of oil in blue crab larvae.

 The news is particularly unnerving because it’s the independent scientists who provide the most reliable results on seafood safety. If we are left with only the research being developed for the ensuing legal battle between the federal government and BP, the public will be literally starved for the truth when it comes of the health and safety of Gulf seafood.

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