The White House is fighting its image after allegations it prevented government scientists from telling the public how massive the oil spill could become.
The accusations came in a report from the commission created by President Obama to investigate the Coastal Crisis.
Underwater robots, equipped with cameras gave us a front row seat to the massive oil leak a mile beneath the surface.
Even though we could watch the leak day after day, streaming live on wkrg.com, there was always a debate about how much oil was “really” leaking.
A report by the Federal Oil Spill Commission said the White House kept NOAA from going public about the worst case scenario.
But President Obama’s press secretary said the White House never tried to withhold what he called, “the most accurate and timely information” on the amount of oil leaking.
Robert Gibbs said, “No information was withheld, and nothing in the report had anything to do with the robust response.”
The government’s track record said otherwise.
Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry, who was the initial spokesperson for the government’s response to the Coastal Crisis, downplayed it from the very beginning.
On April 28th, Landry said, “You’re getting ahead of yourself a little when you try to speculate and say this is catastrophic. It’s premature to say this is catastrophic.”
Nearly six months later, Landry defended that statement, telling News Five the Coast Guard always acted on and prepared for a worst case scenario.
Landry said, “You had a riser that was damaged. You had uncertainty about the condition of what was going on five thousand feet below the surface, so, you knew that this well could come to a complete release at any time. That’s the worst case.”
But Orange Beach Mayor Tony Kennon doesn’t buy Landry’s spin on the Coast Guard’s response.
He said, “I don’t know that they were planning on the worse case scenario. I didn’t see their actions matching their words.”
Kennon said the commission’s report supports what he’s always believed.
He said, “The concern I’ve got is this continuing belief in Washington that they’ve got to protect us from ourselves, that we’re not smart enough to handle the truth, that we might all go out and hang ourselves if they give us the facts. Its sickening.”
He may be sickened, but Kennon is not surprised by anything in the report.
Kennon said, “Nothing coming out of Washington would ever surprise me. It is absolutely a reality show. It ought to be on next to the ‘Jersey Shore.’ ”
Jane Lubchanco, the administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is backing up the White House.
She said NOAA officials told the public a few weeks into the Coastal Crisis that a worst case spill could be more than 100,000 barrels a day.