~Examiner Political Spin Examiner Maryann Tobin
When the Deepwater Horizon fell two days after exploding on April 20, 2010, BP told the American public that the hole in the Gulf floor was leaking at a rate of 1,000 barrels a day. On April 28th, that number increased to 5,000.
Today, independent scientists agree that the true spill rate, before the riser pipe was cut off last week, was between 20,000 and 40,000 barrels a day.
In between that gap in time and the estimates of the flow, the party reporting the numbers changed, too. Now, it is the US government claiming to control reports on the size of the Gulf oil spill, through Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen.
Did the US government know all along that BP’s numbers were a gross underestimate? Rolling Stone Magazine’s Eric Bates says, “Yes.” What has yet to be discovered is why?
Three weeks prior to the Deepwater Horizon explosion, the Obama Administration announced support for an expansion of offshore drilling, After the disaster, the political implications of a push toward favoring big oil left the Obama Administration with pie on its face.
An argument could be made that admitting it was a massive spill with the potential to crush the Gulf fishing industry, tourism and the ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico for a lifetime, was political suicide – in an election year.
The hope that it would all be cleaned up before anyone knew the difference may have been the plan in hiding the spill rate numbers. But everything went wrong and the spill simply got too big, too fast. There was no way to hide it once the oil started invading the Louisiana wetlands, and oil covered, dying birds became icons of the disaster.
Was there a back room deal between the White House and BP? Or did the US government find out a month into the disaster that BP was not being truthful about the size of the leak?
What may inevitably emerge as the truth is – someone lied and someone else covered it up. Regardless, it appears that there something here that is out of control, in addition to flowing oil.