SELLOUT: Feds Cave in to BP on Spill Size Estimate


You knew this day would come, and we need to realize that our government is poised for a massive corporate sellout.

Of course, BP is saying the U.S. government’s oil spill estimates are too high, and that maybe it only spilled half as much as the officially established 4.9 million barrels. This political development is deeply discouraging to those of us who figure the “official” estimates are already too low.

We saw this same sort of thing in Alaska well after the Exxon Valdez spill when the oil giant consistently disputed the amount of oil spilled – and that was from a tanker, so the debate focused on how much was actually recovered. In the case of BP, the company is actually arguing that the many different estimates (coming from a variety of different sources) prove that it’s an arbitrary number.

The BP position would be laughable except that the federal government, from the early days of the spill, has been a virtual division of the oil company. The most telling example is the NOAA “vast majority of oil is gone” report, but there are dozens of instances of the government going along with Big Oil.

Look, it was the biggest story of the year and our country’s worst environmental disaster, but it didn’t warrant a mention in the State of the Union address. Not one word. So it makes good sense that the Obama Administration will cut whatever deal moves us past the bad PR of the spill as quickly as possible.

Oddly, this estimate “adjustment” is going virtually unnoticed in the United States, but is mentioned as a done deal in the United Kingdom. It could be that the Brits have a much more realistic view of how little our government values the Gulf, but there is still time to let officials know that we’re not about to support a cut-rate deal with BP.

We recommend letting a jury in New Orleans decide how much oil spilled, and whether BP was reckless. That way, the Obama Administration cannot be accused of selling out the people and the environment of the Gulf Coast – particularly since fines will be used to fund restoration projects.

Read the fine print in The Guardian here:

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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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