Size of Gulf Coast Oil Spill May be Grossly Underestimated
Over two weeks ago the government put an estimate on the size of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico: 5,000 barrels—or 210,000 gallons—a day. The number was chanted over and over by the government, the media and British Petroleum. However, scientists now claim that the size of the spill was grossly underestimated and could easily be four or five times greater. What’s worse, scientists now say BP’s assertion that they could not accurately measure the flow was an outright lie. According to experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts, techniques have been available for decades to measure an oil spill of this nature.
After BP released video of oil spewing out of the well earlier this week, criticism has grown about the validity of the 210,000-gallon-a-day estimate. The number seemed far too low when connected with the video evidence, but BP has repeatedly claimed that measuring the extent of the spill would be impossible and that the company’s top priority was stopping, not measuring, the spill.
While scientists, government officials and oil spill experts continue to push for greater understanding of the spill’s size, BP continues to block any possible investigation into confirming or denying the 210,000-gallon-a-day number. In fact, experts at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, originally invited by BP to the site, are no longer on the guest list.
Read more at The New York Times.