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BP Enlists Scientists From LSU, Texas A&M to Help Duck Litigation

This post originally appeared on Daily Kos. The Los Angeles Times has this unsurprising news:
Federal investigators painted a picture Thursday that suggested BP and oil-rig owner Transocean cut corners aboard the doomed Deepwater Horizon, which exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, causing the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history. Investigators have suggested that crew members were under pressure to finish their work aboard the floating mobile oil rig, which was trying to finish off an exploratory well, plug it so a production rig could be put into place and move on to a new site. The oil rig was weeks behind schedule.
Meanwhile, even as federal officials prevent independent reporters and scientists from having access to the spill sites, BP is taking a different tack. As the Mobile Press-Register's Ben Raines reported on Monday:
For the last few weeks, BP has been offering signing bonuses and lucrative pay to prominent scientists from public universities around the Gulf Coast to aid its defense against spill litigation.
Great news, right? They're actually enlisting scientists to help! Or not.
The Press-Register obtained a copy of a contract offered to scientists by BP. It prohibits the scientists from publishing their research, sharing it with other scientists or speaking about the data that they collect for at least the next three years.
In fact, BP tried to hire one Alabama university's entire marine sciences department. Very much to its credit, the university turned BP down, precisely because of the confidentiality restrictions. But scientists from Louisiana State University, University of Southern Mississippi and Texas A&M apparently had no such qualms, and signed on. And just in case you were wondering:
The contract makes it clear that BP is seeking to add scientists to the legal team that will fight the Natural Resources Damage Assessment lawsuit that the federal government will bring as a result of the Gulf oil spill.
BP cuts corners, when it comes to protecting workers and the environment. When it comes to protecting themselves from accountability, wallets are opened wide.