When University Scientists Found Underwater Oil Plumes, the Government Said Shut Up, Don't Tell Anyone ... and Then Tried to Discredit Them

George Washington's picture


As I've previously reported, a senior EPA policy analyst says that NOAA and the EPA have been "sock puppets" for BP.

NOAA has repeatedly denied the existence of underwater oil plumes (see this and this), calculated the spill to be only 5,000 barrels a day, and buried core data on the oil spill.

university scientists have revealed the NOAA used strong-arm tactics to
try to silence any information on underwater plumes. As the St.
Petersburg Times reports:

reaction that [the University of South Florida] announcement [of the
discovery of huge underwater plumes] received from the Coast Guard and
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the federal
agencies that sponsored their research:


Shut up.


"I got
lambasted by the Coast Guard and NOAA when we said there was undersea
oil," USF marine sciences dean William Hogarth said. Some officials even
told him to retract USF's public announcement, he said, comparing it
to being "beat up" by federal officials.


The USF scientists
weren't alone. Vernon Asper, an oceanographer at the University of
Southern Mississippi, was part of a similar effort that met with a
similar reaction. "We expected that NOAA would be pleased because we
found something very, very interesting," Asper said. "NOAA instead
responded by trying to discredit us. It was just a shock to us."


Administrator Jane Lubchenco, in comments she made to reporters in
May, expressed strong skepticism about the existence of undersea oil
plumes — as did BP's then-CEO, Tony Hayward.


"She basically called us inept idiots," Asper said. "We took that very personally."

confirmed Monday that her agency told USF and other academic
institutions involved in the study of undersea plumes that they should
hold off talking so openly about it. "What we asked for, was for people
to stop speculating before they had a chance to analyze what they were
finding," Lubchenco said. "We think that's in everybody's interest. …
We just wanted to try to make sure that we knew something before we
speculated about it."


"We had solid evidence, rock solid," Asper
said. "We weren't speculating." If he had to do it over again, he said,
he'd do it all exactly the same way, despite Lubchenco's ire.




first NOAA-sponsored voyage to take samples after Deepwater Horizon,
the one that turned up evidence of the undersea plumes, was designed to
gather evidence for use in an eventual court case against BP and other
oil companies involved in the disaster. At the end of the voyage, USF
turned its samples over to NOAA, expecting to get either a shared
analysis or the samples themselves back. So far, Hogarth said, they've
received neither.


NOAA's top oil spill scientist, Steve Murawski,
said Monday that he was "sure we will release the data" at some point.
However, he said, because NOAA has collected so many samples over the
past three months, when it comes to the samples from USF's trip in May,
"I'm not sure where they are."

A government
official named "Lubchenco" strong-arming scientists to tow the party
line, and a government agency "losing" samples instead of sharing
results with the scientists who had taken them.

Sounds like the Soviet Union, doesn't it?

Too bad it's America.

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Augustus's picture

The problem with the NOAA studies and the others is that they do not have very good baseline information.  And they don't know where the naturally occuring seeps are located.  That means that at any given location they are not able to pinpoint the source of any oil found in the water column.  further, since they don't have pre-spill data, the fact that they do find slight presence of oil in the deep water is interesting, needs monitoring, but is not a reason to conclude anything from the initial observation.  The whole terminology is screwed up.  Geo Wash and Simmons have tried to imply that the term "plume" is something such as an oil lake of black floating crude oil lying below the surface.  The scientists use the term much differently to simply identify an volume of water with elevated levels of a substance beyond what is normally found, without regard to the degree of elevation of that concentration.

Requiring that the people presenting their findings do so in a way that can be undeerstood by the general public is a good thing.  Presenting wild and impossible scare theories, based upon poorly interpreted remarks, should be left to the nonsense bloggers taking payoffs and shilling for the shorts.  It seems to have developed into a profitable business for quite a few of them.  Then they can generate more buzz by quoting each other and calling each other experts.  It is now easy to spot the disinformation campaign and those involved in expanding the echo for cash.

Jake Lamotta's picture

Run, run for your lives cause the USA has a socialist government & Mr Lubchenco needs a "rectal lube job".

Treeplanter's picture

So far we have a lot of speculation about where the oil went.  We do know the shore areas have way more oil than plants and critters can handle.  There are layers of sand covered oil on the beaches.   I suspect Obama and BP would like to forget about all that.  

nmewn's picture

Wait a minute.

Where's GG?

We really need someone on this thread hyperventilating about the GoM sea floor collapsing into a Grand Canyon type valley triggering tidal waves & earthquakes necessatating the evacuation of the entire SE portion of the country while calling everyone a shill for BP who scoffs at that absurd notion.

Siiigh...here's to the good ole days of braying for fissile material to wash up on Destin beach instead of oil.

viator's picture

More magic floating oil. What is the specific gravity of crude oil? Less than one. What is the specific gravity of sea water? More than one. Oil floats. This is just more anti-scientific carbonphobia from the left.

Augustus's picture

The released oil from the BP leak is different from what is normally found in a ship spill.  Because of the gas content, pressure and temperature it was somewhat fractionalized when it hit the water.   Then it was hit with the dispersant.  It became much easier for the natural microbes to digest parts of it.  And the extra heavy parts will soon be dropped on the ocean floor.  The lighter parts will find their way to the surface, if not eaten by the microbes, and evaporate into the atmosphere.

RichardP's picture

So - as mid-August approaches, what is the status of the oil blowout?  Which seems to have been proven true - the math and science or the wild speculation?  Should any more wild speculation arise, I will again point to the math and science.  But I don't think that is going to be necessary.  I sincerely hope the people worried about the gulf are breathing easier now (no pun intended).  Now I'm off to study up on nuclear power plant meltdowns.  Do you have any idea how toxic freon is?

Don't forget to kill your bank tomorrow, August 12th.

jpk's picture

No one believes the news that 75% of the oil is gone.  It's far too soon after the spill to have come to such a conclusion. That such news is being put out by the government is really fishy. 

It takes months to get an environmental impact study done to get a shack built in the desert.  And someone they have results on the amount of oil remaining from the worst ever oil spill in the Gulf after just a few days?

knukles's picture

Afterbirth of an Orwell-Goebbels union.

AssFire's picture


Please do some stories on crop circles, UFO's and Bigfoot.


13 year old idiot

AssFire's picture

Oh Jesus, Wolf Crying Washington back without any evidence.

Simmons, Your Credibility and this story are DEAD.

Moonrajah's picture

Sounds like the Soviet Union, doesn't it?

Actually it sounds Orwellian to me. So much that NOAA should just rename itself to Ministry of Truth and be done with it.

Rogerwilco's picture

With $20B sitting there, isn't it amazing what people will say and do to get their tiny piece of it? When they start feeding on each other, that's when we'll see the true nature of the greenies and their agenda-driven "science".

Fred Hayek's picture

NOAA displays the same degree of integrity in regard to the issue of global warming.  It's quite sad that this is what americans get for their money.

I am a Man I am Forty's picture

The oil has disappeared and everyone is bitching about it.  These oil plumes remind me of the loch ness monster and big foot.  They are out there but nobody can ever seem to find them.  I have family all over the gulf coast and haven't heard one complaint about oil.

Brother can you spare a dime's picture

thanks GW, but the sad thing is people will believe the slick media campaign that all is well. The next thing you know BP and the government will be running ads telling us that crabs are supposed to have that tingly taste to them.

Mad Max's picture

Deep (DEEP!) fried even before they get in the boat!  Yum!

Milestones's picture

 unicorns and fairies saving the planet!! Spealing of which seems that our badly crippled physist (can think of his name-damn)(Hawkings?) advised the humans get set to abandon the planet in the near future as the Earth may not be around/or uninhabitable in the relative near future. Picked this up this morning on Naked Capitalism.  Milestones

fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

Obama and the DNC hate the environment. Impeach Obama for his failure to act to save the gulf. Obama lied and nature died.

Cistercian's picture

 NC State University did a study of how much oil would reach the surface from 5000 feet down.Their result?About 2 percent without dispersant, about 1 percent with dispersant.

   Even being optimistic to the point of hallucination if only 5 to 10 percent reached the surface, how much do you think is cruising around in plumes or otherwise underwater?

 At least 90 percent.Of course, it is not in contact with the atmosphere so it CANNOT EVAPORATE WHILE SUBMERGED.


  Of course, this information is inconsistent with unicorns and fairies saving the planet, so you can expect vociferous disagreement from the shills who exist only to let BP escape justice.And that regrettably includes our government.












Cognitive Dissonance's picture


It's so nice to be back on a BP thread, sharing the love and joy with all our old friends. I just saw the gasmiinder, Merlin12, and Augustus gang and they were all slipping and sliding around in the muddy oil and having a ball. And this time it looks like they brought a few new friends. Come on guys, introduce your new play things to everyone so we can all be on a first name basis. But I can't find assfire or RichardP anywhere. Have you seen them?

And it looks like Jim Rockford may have a new set of cloths and a different ID. It sure as hell sounds like Jimbo, including some of the exact same phrases he always loved to throw around. But without the great hair and square jaw we've all come to love, it's just not the same Jimbo. Come out, come out, where ever you are Jim. Don't hide from us in the trash. Come on out and share in the love.

I love you guys. <sigh>

Tree of Liberty's picture

Well Said CD....


Glad your back George!

merehuman's picture

AhH a shillfest! Yippie. Drown me in oily good news. Is my order of fries ready?

gasmiinder's picture

Well Said CD....


Indeed it is well said . . . . .except . . . . that . . . .it. . . . . didn't . . . .actually SAY anything...............

Innuendo and suppositions, still right on track CD.  

For the record I've posted MANY times over the past few weeks that this issue  IS the REAL concern.  And I don't believe it is TECHNICALLY possible for NOAA to have done the studies needed to make the claims they have about the oil being gone.  It is propaganda.  How bad the impacts are remain to be seen - but the full magnitude probably will never be known because government funding would be required in a large-scale effort immediately to do the research that would tell us.  Methinks it'll never happen................but far be it from me to criticize our fine progressivist government.