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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Polar bear biologist's suspension comes to an end [BOEMRE and its witch hunt of Dr. Charles Monnett moves to a second stage -- effectively cowing all scientists working for them in the Arctic and no doubt elsewhere]

Polar bear biologist's suspension comes to an end

by Jill Burke, Alaska Dispatch, August 26, 2011

On Friday a prominent polar bear scientist placed on controversial leave this summer, will resume his work with the government, according to National Public Radio.
In its report, NPR writes:
The polar bear scientist who has spent more than a month suspended from his government job has now been told that he should report back to work on Friday — although NPR has learned that his job is changing and he will no longer manage federal contracts.
Chuck is planning to go to work. He just doesn't know what the work is going to be,’ says attorney Jeff Ruch of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, which is providing legal representation for wildlife biologist Charles Monnett.
Although it’s Monnett’s oversight of a federal contract that came under scrutiny, investigators' continued questioning of Monnett about a 2006 report, noting his sighting of polar bears believed drowned led critics of his suspension to believe the scientist was being targeted for political reasons.
Monnett's suspension reverberated through media outlets and blogs a few weeks ago when Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility alleged in a complaint filed with the Interior Department that the disciplinary action was nothing more than a political witch hunt wrapped up in the broader debate over oil and gas development in the Arctic. The article published by Monnett and Jeffrey Gleason, who were at the time scientists with the former Minerals Management Service, galvanized public attention on climate change and raised questions of whether polar bears were drowning due to disappearing sea ice, a casualty of global warming.
On Thursday, Monnett's attorneys told NPR "investigators suggested he improperly steered a federal research contract to a polar bear scientist at the University of Alberta." [which is nonsense -- he carefully followed all rules and practices]
Although he’s returning to work, he won't have all of the same responsibilities, and he'll no longer supervise contracts. [so BOEMRE has effectively removed the person with the most experience and knowledge, while at the same time terrorizing all the employees that used to work under Dr. Monnett]
"'He was informed that he will have no role in developing or managing contracts and will instead be in our environmental assessment division,'" Melissa Schwartz, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, told NPR in an email.

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