Obama Administration White House Information Made Public
Rep. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, chairman of the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, said BP was providing too-low figures for the oil flow in effort to escape liability.
“Low-balling the flow rate numbers was BP’s attempt to hide both the truth and their wallet from the American people,” Markey said.
After the oil rig sank, the U.S. Coast Guard and BP initially put the spill at 1,000 barrels per day.
The administration later derived a 5,000-barrels-per-day estimate, depending on an “unsolicited, one-page document” based on visual operation of the speed at which the oil was leaking from the end of the riser at the bottom of the Gulf.
Despite “inaccuracies” in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists’ estimate of 5,000 barrels, the government stuck with that number through May 27, despite estimates from outside experts suggesting a much higher figure, the report said.
The panel’s staff wrote that in some cases, nongovernment scientists relied on more refined or better-established methodologies.
“It is possible that the early official flow estimates would have been more accurate if the government had either enlisted greater in-house scientific expertise, or enlisted outside scientific expertise by making available the data on which government estimates were based,” the report said. “The government appears to have taken an overly casual approach to the calculation and release of the 5,000 barrels a day estimate — which as the only official estimate for most of May, took on great importance,” the report said.
Soon after the spill, the Minerals Management Service and BP reported a worst-case estimate of 162,000 barrels, but that was replaced by another estimate received by the Coast Guard and NOAA of 64,000 to 110,000 barrels per day. The actual figure turned out to be about 62,000 barrels per day. Read more..