The federal government and BP would have us believe that most of the oil that spewed into the Gulf of Mexico has dissipated. The Deepwater Horizon Incident Joint Information Center (a collaboration between BP and the Obama administration) issued a recent report that says only 25 percent of the oil that poured into the Gulf remains. The other 75 percent? Poof! Vanished. As Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, points out in truthout, this is a pretty ridiculous assertion.
Researchers with Georgia Sea Grant and the University of Georgia released a report Wednesday that estimates that 80 percent of the oil is still in the Gulf. Hauter writes:
This independent analysis of the regulators’ claims raises some important questions about the Joint Information Center’s report. Is BP’s influence at play in presenting the findings in a more positive light? Was the report an attempt at crisis communications that simply backfired?
It’s just another example of what happens when the government treats BP like a partner, rather than the culpable party that it is. Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen’s Energy Program, has pointed out the government’s poor judgment in using BP’s profits from the company’s Gulf drilling operations as collateral for the $20 billion victims’ compensation fund. Doing so gives the Obama administration much less incentive to come down hard on BP for its negligence and disregard of safety and environmental regulations.
Slocum goes into detail about the potential conflicts of interest over at our sister blog, Citizen Energy.
Joe Newman is the deputy director of communications at Public Citizen. Follow him on Twitter at @cosmicsmudge.