News & AnalysisOcean Science

Oil Spill Researchers Lose Fight to Protect Documents

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Science  08 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6086, pp. 1219-1220
DOI: 10.1126/science.336.6086.1219

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As part of a massive lawsuit sparked by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, lawyers for BP asked to see thousands of internal e-mails and documents that researchers at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution had created as they worked with the U.S. government and BP to determine the size of the historic spill. WHOI lost a tense legal struggle, and late last week, WHOI gave BP more than 3500 documents, including "analysis, communications, and e-mails" related to WHOI's estimate of the spill's size. The 1 June handover followed a March transfer of some 5000 other internal documents that WHOI had already agreed to share with the company.