BOEM again rejects calls for renewed scrutiny of Charles Monnett
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Government investigators just don’t want to stop scrutinizing an Arctic scientist who reported on sightings of drowned polar bears a few years ago.
Since publishing a peer-reviewed observational note in 2006, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management scientists Dr. Charles Monnett has been hounded by indirect allegations of scientific and professional misconduct related to the article and to his handling of contracting duties with the agency.
Monnett has been unavailable to speak directly with the media, but his voice has been publicly represented by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility. The watchdog and whistleblower protection group now claims that the continued investigation of Monnett amounts to an anti-environmental jihad.
The investigation appeared to be over a few months ago, when the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management rejected Inspector General recommendations to take action against Monnett. Rather than dropping the case, the Inspector General’s Office re-opened the case, once again requesting BOEM to launch a new scientific misconduct investigation.
In late January, BOEM scientific integrity officer Dr. Bradley Blythe once again rejected the the IG request.
“Upon completion of my review, I have no findings of violations of the DOI Policy on Scientific and Scholarly Integrity [citation omitted] that would merit a further review of this case…I consider this matter closed,” Blythe wrote in a memo.
Despite this second turn-down, the case remains in an open status while the “office is evaluating the response from the bureau,” an IG official wrote in a Feb. 8 email obtained by PEER.
“This outcome only underlines that this entire investigation was a misbegotten travesty that should never have taken place,” said PEER director Jeff Ruch. “We can only hope that the IG’s Lazarus-like vendetta does not rise from the grave again. What part of ‘No’ doesn’t the IG understand?” Ruch said.
“For the IG to call for a scientific review after concertedly eschewing that same avenue suggests this latest maneuver was just a desperate effort to save face in this embarrassing self-created fiasco,” Ruch said. “Every aspect of this case reinforces the need for replacing both the acting Inspector General and her entire leadership team with professionals who know how to conduct objective investigations, not jihads.”
Links provided by PEER: