Five years ago a scientist suggested that several polar bears had drowned in the Arctic Ocean helped galvanize the global warming movement. Now, the wildlife biologist is on administrative leave and facing accusations of scientific misconduct.
The federal agency where he works told him he’s being investigated for “integrity issues,” but a watchdog group believes it has to do with the 2006 journal article about the bear.
The group, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, filed a complaint on his behalf Thursday with the agency, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
Investigators have not yet told the scientist of the specific charges or questions related to the scientific integrity of his work, said Jeff Ruch, the watchdog group’s executive director.
A BOEMRE spokeswoman, Melissa Schwartz, said there was an “ongoing internal investigation” but declined to get into specifics.
Whatever the outcome, the investigation comes at a time when climate change activists and those who are skeptical about global warming are battling over the credibility of scientists’ work.