E-mails Show Struggle To Guess Size Of Oil Spill


A review of thousands of government e-mails from last summer shows that the Obama administration struggled behind the scenes to determine just how much oil was leaking into the Gulf of Mexico from a broken BP well.

The e-mails, obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information request, also show how the government defended estimates of the extent of the oil spill that for months were


The e-mails hint at uncertainties in what the government knew during the summer, even as its scientists wrestled over how to measure oil leaking from a runaway well a mile under the ocean.

The government said this week that its final estimate, of 172 million gallons of oil leaking into the Gulf between April 20 and July 15, was accurate.

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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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