APNewsBreak: Arctic scientist under investigation
By BECKY BOHRER – Associated Press | AP
JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — A federal wildlife biologist whose observation in 2004 of presumably drowned polar bears in the Arctic helped to galvanize the global warming movement has been placed on administrative leave and is being investigated for scientific misconduct, possibly over the veracity of that article.
Charles Monnett, an Anchorage-based scientist with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement, or BOEMRE, was told July 18 that he was being put on leave, pending results of an investigation into “integrity issues.” But he has not yet been informed by the inspector general’s office of specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility.
On Thursday, Ruch’s watchdog group plans to file a complaint with the agency on Monnett’s behalf, asserting that Obama administration officials have “actively persecuted” him in violation of policy intended to protect scientists from political interference.
Monnett, who has coordinated much of the agency’s research on Arctic wildlife and ecology, has duties that include managing about $50 million worth of studies, according to the complaint, a copy of which was provided to The Associated Press.
The complaint seeks Monnett’s reinstatement along with a public apology from the agency and inspector general. It also seeks to have the investigation dropped or to have the charges specified and the matter carried out in accordance with policy. The complaint also says that investigators took Monnett’s computer hard drive, notebooks and other unspecified items from him, which have not been returned.