Leakage? What Leakage?


Incredible. Let’s break this down: the U.S. Coast Guard has caught BP misleading everybody (yet again), finding “leakage” or “seepage” from the capped well only to have the oil company announce, the next day, “no leak!” – then gives a 24-hour grace period for BP to cover its tracks, then agrees to go along with BP’s plan but demands strict monitoring.

Pretty stunning stuff. Caught red-handed, either: (a) not catching the signs of a leak; or (b) giving misleading statements about it. Now, we turn around and put them in charge of … strictly monitoring for leaks? What planet are we on?

This is the same oil company that used toxic dispersants to keep the oil underwater where it’s harder to detect, even when the federal EPA warned against its use. Now BP has the chance to keep the oil under the seabed, creating who knows what sort of disaster while no doubt claiming that some of it is “natural seepage.”

Why would they do that? MONEY, and lots of it.

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) is stepping up to challenge BP on this most recent lapse. (The mainstream media labels him as a “critic” of the oil company, implying that there are two sides to some debate. The reality is we should be asking why his is such a lonely voice these days.)

In the AP and other reports, the congressman from Massachusetts points out that: “If the well remains fully shut in until the relief well is completed, we may never have a fully accurate determination of the flow rate from this well. If so, BP – which has consistently underestimated the flow rate – might evade billions of dollars of fines,” Markey said in a letter to the Coast Guard over the weekend.

Look, ships on the surface collecting 100 percent of the gushing oil would allow experts to determine the actual flow rate. Even if you believe nobody knows what that is, it’s surely not the low-ball estmates BP has incorporated into the “official” guesses.

Does anyone still doubt where BP comes down on the money vs. safety question?

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

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