[Coral-List] Media and Oil Spill Science

Greg Challenger gchallenger at msn.com
Fri Aug 27 13:09:13 EDT 2010

First of all let me say the comments by David Lawrence are correct and many journalists are after factual accurate reporting.  I read a lot of it (I hope). I by no means want to besmerch anyones' reputation with such blanket statements and I apologize.  I was too cavalier in my comments about journalists. I believe the oil spill incidents lend themselves to an "us versus them" attitude of environment and industry.  This is understandable.
The post below from Thomas Moore at NOAA is a clear illustration of the same problem I had in my statement about journalists.  Rather than discussing the merits of the technical views I expressed (or whether a news story is intended to be accurate), the inclination is to allow a preconception of who you work for to influence your interpretation of someones' technical opinion .....or to somehow raise doubt on the technical opinion without actually engaging in the technical discussion.
Is that an objective opinion, or because Polaris Applied Sciences,
Incorporated is a technical representative for BP?
Polaris works for government and industry and the opinion doesnt change based on the name on the check.   Polaris did the hotwashing and pressurewashing studies with Environment Canada after the Exxon Valdez to increase everyone's understanding of maximizing recovery and reducing harm.  I didnt mean for this to be a marketing discussion but thanks for the free plug Tom.  There is no shame in working for BP.  Our mission is to do well so that we may work again.  Should we all have said no?  BP is lucky to have the private industry experts assisting with response and assessment strategies.  What sort of disaster would this be if no one worked for BP and it was up to the government  to take care of it?  I dont know.
The data should carry the day and not the preconception or the employer.  Likewise, those in industry cannot automatically assume that the government scientists are maximizing the problem to increase their chances at restoration projects on grand scales to employ their people for years to come.  "It is what it is" and lets get together and talk about the research questions, the samples needed, and the results.  Steve Mussman and Mr. Reddy also make very good points that it will be a long time before we know what happened in many habitats. There will be some things we never discover.
Its all good discussion.

Greg E. Challenger Marine Scientist/Associate Polaris Applied Sciences, Incorporated 12509 130th Lane NE Kirkland, WA 98034 425-823-4841 425-823-3805 fx 206-369-5686 cell visit us at: polarisappliedsciences.com

> Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 22:11:25 +1000
> From: thomas.moore.is at gmail.com
> To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Media and Oil Spill Science
> On 27/08/2010, at 8:57 AM, Greg Challenger wrote:
> > I dont presume to speak for all the scientists on the spill
> > but I have no indication that they do not believe that the
> > majority of the oil is evaporated, dispersed, burned, recovered, etc
> Is that an objective opinion, or because Polaris Applied Sciences,
> Incorporated is a technical representative for BP?
> Thomas
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