ProPublica: Four Reasons Why Measuring Flow in BP’s Spill Matters

By Marian Wang

Estimating oil flow from BP’s ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico has consistently been a subject of contention among the oil company, the government and the skeptics who believe that official estimates significantly low-ball the scale of the disaster.

Both BP and the government knew early on that the disaster could be far worse than what official statements reflected. Early last month, behind closed doors, BP officials told some lawmakers that the spill rate could be as much as 60,000 barrels a day. Last week the Center for Public Integrity reported that even before a leak was announced, the Coast Guard’s estimate of flow rate in case of a blowout was changed from 8,000 barrels a day to between 64,000 and 110,000 barrels a day.

BP’s executives have said that the oil flow is “impossible to measure,” and that the company’s top priority is plugging the well rather than measuring it.

But having a lower estimate for the amount of oil that has flowed into the Gulf matters for several reasons:

Read the entire blog here.

ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest. Its work focuses exclusively on truly important stories, stories with “moral force.”  They do this by producing journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them.

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