A spokesman for Monsanto, Dr. S. Allen Heininger, vice president of technology development, said:

"Monsanto Company categorically denies any conflict of interest existed with respect to work done by its wholly owned subsidiary, Monsanto Research Corporation (MRC), for the EPA.

"We state flatly that there has never been an attempt by anyone in the parent corporation to bring pressure to bear on MRC or alter data generated for a federal agency or anyone else.

"In effect, MRC says, 'Here's what we found. We stand by our findings, and let the chips fall where they may.'

"We remain totally confident that our relationship with MRC and/or the EPA will withstand the scrutiny of any factual investigation, and welcome it openly." DOW

Phillip Schneider, a spokesman for Dow Chemical, said:

"For those tasks we felt we could perform -- without jeopardizing anything of a proprietary nature -- we felt we fully cooperated. There may be some cause for misinterpretation . . . or a question of semantics . . .. We felt we lived up the the terms of the contract . . .

"We're dealing with one side of EPA, which is the research side. Who better talk about these things [chemical processes] than the chemical industry -- the people who developed the chemicals."

Regarding whether EPA created a conflict of interest by awarding the contract to Dow, he said:

"We do not have a yes-no answer to that . . . Government often goes to industry because they have the expertise and knowledge . . . Whether that's right or wrong -- I don't know, I'm not a lawyer. We feel that's an issue to be addressed by Congress -- whether the agency should be operated that way." ARTHUR D. LITTLE

Patrick Pollino, a spokesman for Arthur D. Little, said:

"The fact that we work for both the government and industry really improves the understanding of problems and helps avoid polarization. This also assures that we can't become a captive of either -- corporation or government. EXXON

Steven Fruh, of Exxon's office in New York and formerly a researcher who worked on the study, said:

"This was very significant work, relating to the nation's energy problems . . . We take the view that we want to be good corporate citizens and we don't want to do things that would be objectionable. We want to prevent pollution.

"We have an interest in seeing that the research is done properly. It's a complex field; it's the basic understanding that's valuable . . . In a university, people there just don't understand off-shore operations -- they just don't have a basic understanding for what goes into it."

Is there a conflict of interest?

"Initially, there is the obvious -- an oil company working on its own platform . . . But our interest is to do the job properly.