Deja Vu Anyone? BP Still Argues Spill Size As Oil Piles Up on Gulf Floor
by Marah Hardt
Last week, NPR reported that scientists are finding more and more evidence of thick coatings of oil on the seafloor, smothering marine life more than a thousand feet down. This news comes on the heels of BP’s recent push to challenge the size of the Gulf oil spill. The irony is as thick as the crude that BP sucked up and spit out into the Gulf—only it’s blacker.
Especially since part of the reason why estimates of the spill’s size are so difficult to pinpoint is because BP did everything it could to prevent scientists and officials from measuring the flow rates.
But now the company is saying that the federal government may have overestimated the spill size by 20 to 50 percent because officials didn’t consider pieces of equipment (such as their totally defunct and useless blowout preventer) that could have obstructed the flow of oil and gas—like I said, the irony is THICK.
It’s true the government’s estimates have been numerous and varied. But, they are also based on months of work by many different experts, continually refining to arrive at the most accurate number they can derive. It’s hard to imagine that BP’s own calculations could match the rigor or even partially match the semi-objectivity, of the Administration’s final number.
But they will try. And that’s because reducing the spill size means reducing the Clean Water Act fines BP has to pay—by upwards of 10 billion dollars.
But this is something we cannot allow to happen. For even if the spill is a bit over-estimated (which is doubtful), we have barely even begun to incorporate the long-term and unknown costs of restoration. What is the price of a 500 year-old sea fan, now smothered in sticky goo, dead on the Gulf seafloor? What is the right price to pay fishermen for the risk of massive population declines 5 years from now, due to oil wiping out an entire year-class of fish larvae this past summer?
Rather than spending their time trying to under-estimate the spill size, BP should be putting that accounting power towards figuring out what it is they really owe to the people and wildlife of the Gulf.
Let BP know you are watching them, and expect them to deliver full compensation to people and the Gulf environment here. Then, tell the Senate all fines that are paid should go towards Gulf restoration, not the federal treasury, here.