BP is offering some Gulf Coast scientists lucrative consulting contracts that bar them from releasing their findings on the company's massive oil spill for three years.
The oil giant is gathering a team of experts to battle hundreds of lawsuits filed since the April 20 spill.
Several scientists say the contracts constrain academic freedom. Others signed contracts, then changed their minds. Some argue BP's contract is standard.
American Association of University Professors President Cary Nelson says the three-year limitation could suppress information key to restoring the environment.
BP spokesman David Nicholas confirms contracts with more than a dozen Gulf experts. He says BP is only asking that legal matters be kept confidential.
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