11-19-2007 by simpson
The American Petroleum Institute (API), Big Oil’s favorite mouthpiece, has pulled its $5 million offer to sponsor a centerpiece exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution about the oceans as a global treasure . The move came after two Regents had questioned the proposal.
Now oil companies won’t be able to spend their ill-gotten gains compromising our history, science and culture at the nation’s premier museum.
According The Washington Post, notice of API’s decision came in a terse one-sentence letter from API President Red Cavaney. It said:
"The purpose of this letter is to inform you that API is rescinding the Aug. 29, 2007, offer of financial support for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Ocean Initiative, effective immediately."
Sounds like Cavaney was a little miffed. Could that be because Big Oil is so accustomed to getting its way around Washington?
When the gift first appeared on the institution’s board of regents agenda, Chairman of the Executive Committee Roger Sant and member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., balked. Sant said:
"I have some real concerns about this. I want to be sure that the sponsor’s behavior is consistent with the message we’re trying to deliver. It is a question mark, given the record of oil spills in the past two decades."
Sant and Leahey are right. What could be more inappropriate than allowing the oil companies that ruin our oceans and our earth to teach our children about its genesis and its future?
The Smithsonian’s showcase Ocean Initiative will do just fine without Big Oil’s dirty money. But this small victory is sadly overshadowed by the ongoing debacle at some of nation’s finest universities, which are selling out to the highest Big Oil bidder.
The most recent example of “Big Oil U” is in California where the UC Board of Regents didn’t even get to examine the $500 million deal with BP that turns Cal Berkeley into “UC-BP.”
"Big Oil U" must not be allowed to educate our kids and taint basic energy research.