Santa Monica, CA — The flow of Big Oil money into American universities continued this week with the gift of $7.5 million from the BP Foundation to Stanford University‘s Program on Energy and Sustainable Development, the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) said today.
The gift to finance the study of modern energy markets came after an earlier $1.8 million from the BP Foundation and a favorable article in the magazine “Energy Policy” co-authored by the program’s director, David Victor.
“Big Oil is pumping money into research deals at universities across the country,” said John M. Simpson, an FTCR consumer advocate. “We’re afraid these huge sums will set the research agenda and give the oil giants control of any discoveries. That’s not what academic freedom is supposed to be about.”
“I’m afraid one of the nation’s premier research institutions will become known as UCBP,” said Simpson.
Exxon Mobil’s $100 gift million to Stanford University‘s Global Climate and Energy Program made the school one of the first “Big Oil U” campuses, FTCR said. Among other schools that have joined are UC-Davis’ Bioenergy Research Group with $25 million from Chevron; Princeton‘s Carbon Mitigation Initiative with $15 million from BP; Iowa State University with $22.5 million from ConocoPhillips and Duke University with a recent $1 million pledge from ConocoPhillips.
Without giving any details, Stanford’s announcement of the grant to the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development said the deal included “special provisions” to ensure the program’s “independence in setting its research agenda.” Read the Stanford news release here.
“I’m glad to see the acknowledgment of the importance of research independence,” said Simpson. “However, vague promises aren’t enough; those safeguards must be spelled out publicly if the research from the institute is to be credible.”
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The Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR) is a non-profit, non-partisan consumer watchdog group. For more information, visit us on the web at: http://www.ConsumerWatchdog.org. Also check our energy issues site: www.OilWatchdog.org.