Officials discuss oversight issues, lack of science in offshore drilling

The second meeting of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling highlighted both deficiencies in the Obama Administration’s and British Petroleum’s handling of the spill, as well as methods to improve coordination between those two parties.

Participants in the hearing, which occurred August 25 in Washington, DC, sought to examine regulatory oversight issues in offshore drilling. One point of consensus between both commissioners and several of the panelists was that scientific input into the review process needed to be increased.

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ESA Policy News: August 27

Here are some highlights from the latest ESA Policy News by ESA’s Science Policy Analyst, Terence Houston.

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Gulf disaster: looking for answers in science

It seems the only certainty amidst the Gulf of Mexico environmental disaster is that nothing is certain. From the amount of oil continually pouring from the seafloor to British Petroleum’s use of chemical dispersants, this crisis has been anything but straightforward. As evasive, and at times downright misleading, as BP has been, the environmental impacts of this disaster are far from allusive. Just take a look at the photos on the Public Broadcasting Service’s News Hour site to get a sense of urgency surrounding this crisis.

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From the Community: attacking aphids, quiet birding and cloud seeding

“Menopausal” aphids sacrifice themselves for the colony, Gulf oil spill myths debunked, the benefits of (and new considerations for) hiking, bee hives add to sustainable cuisine in San Francisco and the masters of disguise in the animal world—photos included. Here is the latest in ecological science from the third week in June.

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Perspectives from the oil spill scientific symposium

Earlier this month at the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Scientific Symposium at Louisiana State University (LSU), scientists emphasized the importance and urgency of consulting with researchers during the remediation of the Gulf of Mexico disaster. The meeting pulled together more than 200 attendees, including officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

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From the Community: cricket sex, vertical farms and H1N1 resistance

Scientists document cricket predation and reproduction, protestors cancel Oscar-winning anti-dolphin-hunting documentary in two Tokyo theaters, study describes the process of developing resistance to H1N1 treatments and researchers debate the possibility of achieving sustainable agriculture worldwide. Here is ecology in the news from the first week in June.

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Preventing future oil spills: Congress discusses need for environmental science

The U.S. Department of the Interior announced yesterday morning that exploratory oil drilling off Alaska and deep water drilling in the Guld of Mexico will be suspended due to safety concerns. The White House also said it has cancelled a drilling lease off the coast of Virginia. Fearing another spill like the current disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, officials cited a need for further environmental reviews and evaluations of nation-wide emergency response capabilities.

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