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Students and UC Faculty oppose UC Berkeley-BP Partnership

by Christina Aanestad
UC BERKELEY STUDENTS AND FACULTY RALLIED ON CAMPUS TODAY TO OPPOSE A NEW MULTI MILLION DOLLAR PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP WITH UC BERKERLY AND BP, ONE OF THE WORLDS LARGEST ENERGY AND OIL COMPANIES. THE PARTNERSHIP WILL CREATE the ENERGY BIOSCIENCES INSTITUTE, TO research AND DEVELOP NEW FORMS OF ALTERNATIVE FUELS, BUT STUDENTS AND FACULTY SAY THE PARTNERSHIP WILL TURN UC BERKELEY INTO A RESEARCH HUB FOR BP PROFITS, NOT PUBLIC GOOD.
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STUDENTS AND FACULTY ALIKE ARE CONCERNED THAT BP'S 500 MILLION DOLLAR INVESTMENT IN A NEW ENERGY BIOSCIENCES INSTITUTE WILL COMPROMISE THE ACADEMIC RESEARCH AT ONE OF THE NATIONS TOP UNIVERSITIES. ALI TONAK, A STUDENT AND ASSISTANT TEACHER AT UC BERKELEY, OPPOSES THE UNIVERSITIES PARTNERSHIP WITH BP.

“THEY'RE TALKING ABOUT HOUSING 50 BP SCIENTISTS THAT WILL CHANGE THE CURRICULIM OF COURSES, MENTOR GRATDUATE STUDENTS, AND GIVE DIRECTION TO RESEARCH THAT WILL ULTIMATELY END UP FOR PROFIT FOR BP RATHER THAN THINK ABOUT SUSTAINABLE ENERGY PRACTICES FOR THE WORLD.”

OPPONENTS POINT TO TWO PRPOPOSED AREAS OF RESEARCH-ETHANOL AND OIL. ACCORDING TO THE STOP BP BERKELEY WEBSITE, ONE AREA OF RESEARCH WILL FOCUS ON DERIVING OIL FROM COAL, WHICH TONAK SAYS WILL DO LITTLE TO CHANGE THE U.S. CARBON FOOT PRINT. BUT ROBERT SANDERS SPOKERSPERSON FOR UC BERKELEY SAYS IN LIGHT OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE, THERE IS A NEED TO DEVELOP ALTERNATIVE FULES, AND IF THE US GOVERNMENT WON'T FUND THAT KIND OF RESEARCH, THEN BP WILL .

SANDERS ADDS THE BP SPONSORED ENERGY BIOSCIENCES INSTITUTIE WILL ALSO BE RESEARCHING ETHANOL AS AN ALTERNATIVE FUEL. BUT OPPONENTS TO THE BP UC PARTNERSHIP SAY ETHANOL ISN'T AN ALTERNATIVE FUEL. ACCORDING TO IGNACIO CHAPELLA, A UC BERKELEY PROFESSOR AT THE ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY AND MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT, ETHANOL TAKES MASS AMOUNTS OF LAND TO DEVELOP, WHICH WOULD HAPPEN OVERSEAS, DISPLACE COMMUNITIES AND DEFOREST AREAS LIKE THE AMAZON. THEREFORE, CHAPELLA SAYS THE BP BACKED RESEARCH AT UC BERKELEY WILL CONTRIBUTE TO INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATIONS.

OVER 100 FACULTY MEMBERS SIGNED A PETITION URGING THE UNIVERSITY TO RECONSIDER THE DEAL. BUT T HAT ISN'T STOPPING UC BEREKELY, THE SCHOOL EXPECTS TO SIGN THE DEAL WITH BP THIS SUMMER. REPORTING FOR KPFA NEWS I AM CHRISTINA AANESTAD.
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Tue, May 8, 2007 10:58PM
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