Scientific Integrity Complaint Regarding Arctic Oil Drilling Environmental Impact Statement

by Tim Donaghy

February 4, 2016

Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity and Friends of the Earth call for an investigation into the loss of scientific integrity in the drafting of the Environmental Impact Statement for Arctic oil drilling.

© Vincenzo Floramo / Greenpeace

Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Earth submitted a complaint under the Department of the Interior’s Scientific Integrity Policy requesting an investigation into the loss of scientific integrity in the drafting of the Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Outer Continental Shelf Lease Sale 193. Evidence made public by the Inspector General shows that DOI management imposed an unrealistic deadline for completion of the SEIS that compromised the scientific integrity of the document.

Top managers at the Interior Department admitted to the OIG that they imposed an expedited timeline so that the SEIS would be finished in time for Shell Oil to drill in the Chukchi Sea in the summer of 2015, and that they did so to avoid being blamed if Shell did not drill. However, numerous government scientists and managers stated that the quality of the SEIS was “significantly compromised” by the expedited timeline, and as many as six employees left the Department as a result. The complaint is being submitted under a DOI policy adopted to “guide and ensure the integrity of science and scientific products developed and used by the Department.”

For more information read the full complaint below, or our blog post, Government Scientists Report Political Pressure in Arctic Drilling Decision.

Tim Donaghy

By Tim Donaghy

Tim Donaghy is a Senior Research Specialist with Greenpeace USA. He writes frequently about climate change, offshore oil drilling, energy production, and the Arctic.

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