Polar Bear Scientist Suspended

Author of 2006 report put on leave

The biologist responsible for a 2006 report that galvanized environmental concern for polar bears has been suspended from his position at the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation, and Enforcement amid rumors of scientific misconduct. In 2006, Charles Monnett co-authored a report with Jeffery Gleason that documented four dead polar bears near the Arctic Circle and speculated that climate change might increase polar bear mortality. He was suspended July 18. The service, until recently known as the Minerals Management Service, says an investigation in Monnett's work is ongoing and has not released information about the nature of the suspension. In the transcript of an interview conducted with Monnett, the agency's inspector general asked specific questions about a calculation Monnett made concerning polar bear mortality. In that interview, excerpted in yesterday's New York Times, Monnett is quoted saying that his bosses at the service "don’t want any impediment to, you know, what they view as their mission, which is to, you know, drill wells up there." In 2008, the then-Minerals Management Service was involved in a widespread scandal involving bribes, sexual favors, and drug and alchol abuse.

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