BP Money Funds Alabama Oil Spill Research

BP PLC provided the state of Alabama $5 million that went from the governor to the Marine Environmental Science Consortium (MESC), which is housed at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab (DISL), to study the impact of the Deepwater Horizon incident and its effects in the Gulf of Mexico.

(From Examiner.com / by Paul Hamaker) — The bond was awarded as part of the BP Gulf Research Institutions Program, according to Dawn Patience, a spokeswoman for BP.

She added that BP made a commitment of up to $500 million funded over a 10-year period to create independent research programs to investigate the “fate and effects of oil, dispersed oil and dispersant on the ecosystems of the Gulf of Mexico and affected coastal states.”

Gov. Bob Riley designated the MESC to be the recipient of all science bonds intended for the assessment of the oil spill, according to John Valentine, chairman and professor of university programs at DISL.

He added that funding decisions will be made based on a “consensus among workshop participants, an evaluation of the science by co-chairs of each of the four themes and an evaluation of the science by a panel consisting of scientists in residence at colleges and universities in states surrounding the Gulf of Mexico.”

“Once the input is received, a final recommendation will be placed before the MESC executive committee for approval,” Valentine said.

The “four themes” mentioned are: ecosystem integrity; physical factors that control the distribution of dispersants and the oil in the Gulf; chemistry of the oil dispersants; and the recovery phase of what has happened in the Gulf.

Matthew Kensworthy, a USA graduate student in residence at the DISL, said that the bond is a “very good thing for the MESC and says a lot about the trust and confidence that the governor and BP has in the quality of the scientists within the consortium” and the research done at the University.

Valentine underscored the statement by Bob Shipp, chair of the Department of Marine Sciences, in a previous article by The Vanguard that “no strings were attached to the science or what would be done with the science.”

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