Conservation and wildlife
(Kim Murphy/Los Angeles Times, 26 August 2011) -- The arcane world of polar bear research was rocked recently by the suspension of a federal scientist in Alaska whose research on polar bear drownings in the Arctic raised major concerns about climate change. But the researcher was reinstated to his job Friday — and an inquiry has been launched to determine whether the Obama administration tried to interfere with his research. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement confirmed that Charles Monnett — whose suspension in July sparked an outcry among fellow scientists, climate change researchers and opponents of offshore oil and gas drilling — has been recalled from six weeks of administrative leave. But he won't be resuming his previous work managing research contracts, the bureau said. Agency officials have sought to downplay the incident, saying Monnett was suspended for improperly administering contracts, not for documenting dead polar bears. "There is no truth to any suggestion that the return to work is in any way tied to … allegations against bureau leadership," said Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the bureau, which oversees oil and gas development in many of the same Arctic regions where polar bears are seeing their icy habitat shrink.
Posted 12 September 2011; 10:44:21 PM. Permalink