An Insider’s Look at the Government-BP Coverup


This video, now going viral, illustrates just how quickly the U.S. government sided with BP in the oil spill coverup. Dr. Ira Liefer, a marine scientist at the University of Santa Barbara and a member of the initial oil-flow estimate team, says that “academic freedom is not being respected” and recalls how a lowball estimate became the backbone of the national spill narrative.

Mr. Liefer says, for example, that the team was denied quality video of the gushing well and was forced to work with BP-provided images that seemed to have been intentionally taped by pointing a camera at a high-quality computer screen. In fact, he could actually see the outlines of the screen. And when the team arrived at a spill rate of “19,000 barrels a day or higher,” the government press release conveniently omitted the “or higher” part. Leifer scrambled to call news outlets to correct his own estimate.

This testimony alone should be reason to immediately investigate the lowball estimates that were, after all, part of the reason that various agencies were slow to respond to the disaster. Clearly, these people were not just “wrong,” but were lying from the very beginning. So now we need to know why.

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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