Scientist suspension is about project's management

August 1, 2011 - 8:29 PM

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A watchdog group says the government's suspension of an Arctic biologist is related to how a polar bear research project was awarded and managed.

The U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Enforcement and Regulation suspended Charles Monnett (MOW'-nay) July 18 pending results of an investigation into "integrity issues."

After an Associated Press story revealing the suspension, the agency's director explained that the action was unrelated to Monnett's scientific work or an article he wrote about presumably drowned polar bears.

The group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility says Monnett learned the probe's focus in a letter Friday. It involves a polar bear tracking study with a Canadian university.

The letter tells Monnett to be prepared for an Aug. 9 interview to address issues like compliance with federal regulations, disclosures of personal relationships and preparations for the study.