Investigation ends with letter of reprimand for leaking emails
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY —A Kafka-esque federal probe of a polar biologist ended inconclusively this week, as biologist Charles Monnett got a mild slap on the wrist for an alleged breach of policy that was unrelated to the focus of the 2.5-year investigation.
No charges will be brought against the Monnett regarding his high-profile research on polar bears, according to documents released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, but according to the Alaska Dispatch, the federal government still maintains that Monnett and a co-researcher may have used incomplete and perhaps even false data in writing a report about polar bear drownings.
According to the Alaska Dispatch, the Inspector General report also suggested that Monnett “intended to manipulate data to meet a personal agenda, including influencing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to list the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.”
To this point, Monnett has received a letter of reprimand for allegedly improper disclosures back in 2007 and 2008 which helped reveal that Bush administration suppressed scientific information about oil drilling impacts.
Long-running investigation appears to be heading nowhere
By Summit Violce
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal investigators last week continued to pursue what looks more and more like a witch hunt against scientists who are researching Arctic ecosystems by interviewing new witnesses.
The investigation, which has changed course and shifted shape several times since 2010, is now looking at data from a long-running bowhead whale survey program, but the main effect has been to leave some federal scientists fearful about potential career risks associated with overseeing Arctic Research projects, according to a whistle-blower protection and watchdog group. Continue reading “Arctic science probe looking more like witch hunt”→
Investigation of federal scientists takes a strange turn during latest round of interviews
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — If Franz Kafka were still alive, he’d no doubt be closely following the curious case of the ongoing investigation swirling around a pair of federal scientists who helped raise public awareness about environmental issues in the Arctic.
Is. Dr. Charles Monnett being muzzled for his work on global warming and polar bears?
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Federal investigators continue to claim they are investigating an Arctic scientist for his role in administering research contracts, but documents released by a watchdog and whistle-blower protection group this week suggest the investigation is off base. Read the transcript of the latest interview of Monnett.
That gives more credence to the suggestion that Dr. Charles Monnett is the target of a politically motivated witch hunt that may be linked with his observations on polar bears and climate change.
“He was informed that he will have no role in developing or managing contracts of any kind, and will instead be in our environmental assessment division … The Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) independent investigation is ongoing,” Schwarz said via email.
Federal regulators say scientists integrity and contracting are at the basis of the investigation
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Two national environmental groups have formally requested a full investigation into the suspension of Dr. Charles Monnett, an Arctic researcher who has been the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Department of Interior Inspector General.
The Center for Biological Diversity and Greenpeace say they are looking for documents that might show whether Monnett was the subject of correspondence between the agency and Shell Oil, which last week won approval for a controversial plan to drill in the coastal water of the Beaufort Sea.
SUMMIT COUNTY — A recent story about the travails of a federal researcher who is being investigated after documented drowning polar bears drew a record number of page views for Summit Voice — more than 75,000 in two days, which isn’t too bad for an 19-month-old news blog with a full-time staff of one, plus a handful of volunteer citizen journalists.
The scientist, Charles Monnet, is being investigated by the Interior Department’s Inspector General, supposedly for integrity issues and for his management of contracts related to an ongoing polar bear study. This means, of course, that the whole issue instantly became highly politicized in the context of the polar bear’s status as the first animal to be put on the endangered species list because of global warming, and the ongoing economic pressure to drill for more oil off the coast of Alaska.
The story also drew a number of interesting comments, and one of the most interesting themes that emerged was that there appears to be some belief out there that polar bears are just fine; that there are more polar bears than ever before and that there’s no need to do anything to protect them.
It’s a sheer, bald-faced lie. I’d have a lot more respect if those folks just said they don’t care about polar bears, and that being able to buy cheap gasoline is more important to them than protecting an endangered species. I know a lot of people feel like that; I just haven’t met too many who are willing to come right out and say it. Continue reading “Global warming: Polar bear lies refuted”→