Opponents ask UC regents to delay signing BP contract

Published on

San Francisco Chronicle

Greenpeace USA and two other groups urged the University of California on Friday to delay signing a $500 million research contract with oil giant BP until the details of the pact can be publicly reviewed.

“The prospect of giant carbon polluters directing research related to and gaining control of key energy technologies is very troubling — especially when the research is conducted at, and the technologies are developed in collaboration with, public institutions,” said the letter to UC President Robert Dynes and UC regents Chair Richard Blum. Joining Greenpeace in signing the letter were Essential Action of Washington, and the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights of Santa Monica.

In an agreement announced in February and extensively debated since then, BP will provide $500 million over 10 years to a partnership with UC Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign to form the Energy Biosciences Institute for research on biofuels and other energy initiatives.

The contract, however, has not yet been signed.

UC Berkeley spokesman Robert Sanders said the campus is “following well-established UC protocols and procedures for negotiating funding contracts with industry, which have proved in the past to protect the university’s independence and academic freedom and to serve the public well.”

UC Berkeley has posted its proposal and other information about the partnership on the institute’s web site at www.ebiweb.org. The letter from the three nonprofits can be seen at www.essentialaction.org/ebi/.

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