11-06-07 by court and simpson
The Smithsonian Institution has rebuffed — for now at least –a $5 million donation from Big Oil’s favorite mouthpiece, the American Petroleum Association (API).
The API money was to go toward the Smithsonian’s showcase Ocean Initiative. That’s right, Big Oil money sponsoring a centerpiece exhibit about the oceans as a global treasure.
When the gift appeared on the institution’s board of regents agenda,
Chairman of the Executive Committee Roger Sant and member Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., balked.
According to The Washington Post, Sant put it this way:
"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."
If the Smithsonian Regents stick by their guns, the institution will be leading the way in putting up a "no drilling" sign for oil companies who want to spend their ill gotten gain compromising our history, science and culture. UC Berkeley, poised to become UC-BP for a $500 million check, should take note.
The lesson the Smithsonian leaders are trying to teach is that oil companies that ruin our oceans and our earth cannot be allowed to teach our children about its genesis and its future. Only when society protects the life of the mind can we solve the problems for the earth of the oil industry’s exploitation.
Now we just need to get our universities to follow the Smithsonian’s lead and stop selling out to the highest Big Oil bidder. We don’t want "Big Oil U" to educate our kids and taint basic energy research.