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BP’s Subpoena of Scientists’ Emails Sparks Concerns

HeadlinesJun 05, 2012

BP has sparked concerns over academic freedom after obtaining thousands of confidential emails from scientists who studied the 2010 oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. The scientists, Richard Camilli and Christopher Reddy of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil gushed into the Gulf after the Deepwater Horizon explosion. Earlier this month the scientists were forced to hand over more than 3,000 confidential emails after BP obtained a subpoena. In an opinion piece, the scientists condemned the lack of legal protection for scientific emails and said they are concerned not just about invasion of privacy, but about "the erosion of the scientific deliberative process." The duo says the emails mentioned dead-ends and weaknesses confronted in the course of research, and said incomplete thoughts could be intentionally taken out of context. In related news, federal investigators are now investigating whether BP representatives lied to Congress about the amount of oil leaking as a result of the disaster.

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