New Questions About NOAA’s “Oil’s Gone” Report

Huffington Post reports on some new questions surrounding this month’s controversial NOAA report that led to hundreds of premature “the oil’s all gone” news stories:

Back at the report’s unveiling on August 4, Lubchenco spoke of a “peer review of the calculations that went into this by both other federal and non-federal scientists.” On Thursday afternoon, she told reporters on a conference call: “The report and the calculations that went into it were reviewed by independent scientists.” The scientists, she said, were listed at the end of the report.

But all the scientists on that list contacted by the Huffington Post for comment this week said the exact same thing: That although they provided some input to NOAA (the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), they in no way reviewed the report, and could not vouch for it.

The skimpy, four-page report dominated an entire news cycle earlier this month, with contented administration officials claiming it meant that three fourths of the oil released from BP’s well was essentially gone — evaporated, dispersed, burned, etc. But independent scientists are increasingly challenging the report’s findings and its interpretation — and they are expressing outrage that the administration released no actual data or algorithms to support its claims.

The National Wildlife Federation has been a leader in fighting for total scientific transparency in the Gulf oil disaster. Expect to hear more on that from us later this week.