Persecution Of Polar Bear Scientist Continues

The Interior Department Office of Inspector General interviewed arctic scientist Dr. Charles Monnett yesterday, focusing on “the scientific merit of a seven-page note authored by Dr. Monnett and a colleague published in the peer-reviewed journal Polar Biology in 2006 which reported sightings of drowned polar bears in open waters following a storm.” The politically charged investigation of the scientist has led to his suspension and a temporary stop-work order for Arctic research, right as Interior granted Shell provisional rights to drill in the Arctic Ocean. Bureau of Ocean Energy director Michael Bromwich claimed earlier that the suspension of Dr. Monnett “had nothing to do with his scientific work, or anything relating to a five-year old journal article.”



Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) has jumped in with a letter to the acting director of the Interior Department’s inspector general’s office, claiming falsely that Monnett’s research was “the foundation” for the government’s decision in 2008 to list the bear as a threatened species because of global warming. In reality, Monnett’s paper is only a minor but evocative element of the large body of research pointing to the fossil-fueled extinction of the polar bear.