Eight research teams will receive more than $112 million over three years to study the effects of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to the independent granting body established by BP after last year's environmental disaster. The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GRI) Research Board announced this week that the funding will go to multi-institution consortia that submitted proposals in April for a piece of the $500 million in grants promised by BP to track the impact of the spill. Some Gulf Coast researchers have been critical of the oil giant's granting program, citing a lack of independence and freedom to publish results of research funded by the GRI. Check out the full list of the newly funded research teams and their project titles. (Hat tip to The Chronicle of Higher Education.)
In other petroleum-related news, protesters decrying plans to build a new oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast of Texas have been attracting attention this week. On Tuesday (August 30), actress Daryl Hannah was arrested outside the White House as part of the demonstration against the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from tar sands deposits in Canada across Midwestern and Western states to refineries in Texas. Then, yesterday (August 31) NASA's top climate researcher James Hansen was arrested during continued protests on Pennsylvania Avenue. Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has long been a vocal proponent of curbing global warming and avoiding environmental degradation surrounding the fossil fuel industry.