The Charade Continues with BP Claiming Official Oil-Flow Estimates Should Be Cut in Half


The new BP oil-spill estimates are setting up a bad joke: What do toxic oil-layered sea-floor samples from the deepest part of the Gulf have in common with BP’s new estimates? They are both pulled from someplace where the sun don’t shine.

You’ve likely heard the story. BP is claiming that government oil-flow estimates should be cut in half. And the oil giant is eager to get its hands on the blowout preventer to “prove” the point by way of certain valves. Giving BP the blowout preventer is like giving the shooter access to the gun before ballistics tests are complete. And you have to love that it turns out that all the “science” comes out to a nice, round 50 percent.

Of course these desperate claims from BP’s lawyers were expected but the significance is still huge: the Clean Water Act sets fines for up to $4,300 for each barrel of oil spilled into the Gulf. But sadly we know what comes next. Because the federal government went along with those now-infamous low-ball estimates early on, it will be hard-pressed to now fully defend the disputed totals (which, we should note, are considerably lower than some pretty credible independent estimates).

By spinning the estimates of how much oil remains in the Gulf – the now-disgraced “vast majority gone” stance – the Obama Administration created a great BP defense somewhere down the road. Both are, of course, symptoms of a very real problem – putting short-term political goals ahead of what needs to be done.

It’s a policy pulled, in my opinion, from the same sun-free zone as the BP spill estimates. Once again, we should note that all these nonsensical claims and bogus “scientific” assessments are the reason we desperately need independent research to continue in the Gulf so we can make informed decisions on how to see this crisis to its end.

Here’s a good story from the UK on the news, with some unrelated Wikileaks oil-industry stuff tossed in:

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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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