Thursday, September 16, 2010

Scientists investigating oil spill unsettled by calls from federal commission

by Maya Rodriguez / Eyewitness News

Posted on September 16, 2010 at 6:27 PM

Updated today at 6:38 PM

NEW ORLEANS-- Some independent scientists, who have been looking into oil spill contamination in the Gulf of Mexico, said they have received some unsettling phone calls from the federal government.

The calls came from attorneys, on behalf of the National Oil Spill Commission. The scientists said their questions seemed designed to cast doubts on their findings. 

As the oil spill unfolded, scientists from research institutions around the country descended on the Gulf to witness what ended up becoming an unprecedented environmental event. Two of those scientists included Dr. William Sawyer, a Florida-based toxicologist, and Marco Kaltofen, a scientist and head of Boston Chemical Data in Massachusetts.

"Right now, the Gulf is basically a big experimental laboratory," Sawyer said.

Both were hired by a New Orleans-based law firm to collect and analyze samples of water, sand and sea life that had been affected by the oil spill.

"What has been most important to us is to make sure that we have independent data, that is gathered from along the coast, where our clients reside," said attorney Stuart Smith, of the Smith Stag Law Firm, which hired Sawyer and Kaltofen.

The scientists looked at samples from off the coast of several Gulf states, including Louisiana. They said, so far, their findings are troubling.


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