This can't possibly come as a surprise, but it still hurts. As the Guardian reports (where are American newspapers on this?):
"Documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show BP officials openly discussing how to influence the work of scientists conducting independent research into the consequences of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster."
Here's Russell Putt, from BP's environment team, in an email from June 2010:
"Can we 'direct' GRI [Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative] funding to a specific study (as we now see the governor's offices trying to do)? What influence do we have over the vessels/equipment driving the studies vs the questions?"
It gets even more to the point in another document, which includes minutes from a BP meeting in Louisiana containing this gem:
"Discussions around GRI and whether or not BP can influence this long-term research programme ($500m) to undertake the studies we believe will be useful in terms of understanding the fate and effects of the oil on the environment, eg can we steer the research in support of restoration ecology?"
These documents were all secured by Greenpeace. And there's more where that came from on the political side of the spill--NOAA and EPA vs. White House--which we already know.