On Friday, when President Barack Obama's top adviser on energy and the environment met with community leaders in St. Petersburg, the dean of the marine science program at the University of South Florida voiced a complaint.
Dean William Hogarth told White House adviser Carol Browner federal officials "lambasted" him in May for announcing that USF had discovered underwater oil plumes they believed were caused by the Deepwater Horizon disaster. He said he felt "beat up."
But after the St. Petersburg Times ran an article on Hogarth's complaints Tuesday — an article in which another federal official confirmed that she had indeed tried to hold back the USF findings — the dean backpedaled. In a letter to the Times, and in comments to the Washington Post, Hogarth characterized his own complaints as old news.
"The article is largely accurate but outdated in reflecting what occurred in the relationship between USF's College of Marine Science and our counterparts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration during the early weeks of the spill," he wrote in a letter to the editor that appears in today's newspaper.
"All that's past, in my opinion," he told the Post Tuesday. "I think it's very productive to learn from the experience that we've had the last 100 days, and really try to move forward."
Monday, Hogarth met with NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, who confirmed she tried to get USF to stop trumpeting the discovery of plumes. The meeting showed the administration's willingness to reach out to academic researchers, Hogarth wrote.