Water Exhibit and Oil Money May Not Mix

Oil derrick"The Smithsonian Institution has taken the rare step of putting on hold a $5 million donation from the American Petroleum Institute after two members of the museum complex's Board of Regents ... balked at accepting oil-industry money for a major initiative on the world's oceans." One of the two, former energy industry executive Roger Sant, explained, "I want to be sure that the sponsor's behavior is consistent with the message we're trying to deliver. It is a question mark given the record of oil spills in the past two decades." The Smithsonian's "Ocean Initiative" will include a major exhibit hall and website. American Petroleum Institute's (API's) Karen Matusic said the donation was "offered in the spirit of encouraging education." API "is eager to improve the industry's image in an era where it is often painted as a villain in the global-warming debate. In past years, the API has given about $200,000 to various parts of the Smithsonian." If accepted, API's $5 million would go towards the "Ocean Portal" website. The donation will be discussed at the Smithsonian board's November 19 meeting.