Brit Liggett

New Emails Show BP Was Aware of Possibility of Oil Spill in Gulf But Kept it Secret

by , 01/31/12

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On Friday, as part of a federal investigation, BP released a series of internal e-mails sent directly after the Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded and started to leak oil into the Gulf of Mexico that seem to reveal that the company knew just how disastrous the situation could be. The day of the spill, BP had an expert model the situation at the Deepwater Horizon well and the modeler came up with a possible leakage of 3.4 million gallons per day. BP managers then instructed everyone at the company who knew about the truth to keep quiet about this knowledge, all the while telling the public that they estimated a mere 42,000 gallons per day were leaking from the well. It seems that if BP had the gumption to just come out and tell the truth, the oil spill containment mission might have received the full gusto that it required.

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Thanks to the now public e-mails we can finally say with confidence what we’ve wanted to claim all along – BP was lying about what they knew. While attempting to internally diagnose how deep of a oily hole they were in, they were publicly showing an air of confidence that the whole situation was much less dangerous than they knew it was. In the e-mails, detailed over at the New York Times it is revealed that the company knew immediately that the situation was worse than even the government now says it was — by about one million gallons.

Under the Clean Water Act, the investigation must find out a correct flow rate in order to determine what the civil and criminal penalties that BP, Halliburton and Transocean — the companies currently under investigation for their part in the disaster — will be ordered to pay. The investigation was already hot as it was discovered that Halliburton might have been attempting to destroy evidence of wrongdoing in relation to their part in the Deepwater Horizon well construction. As criminal charges are being prepared in the case against BP, and the Gulf of Mexico is not fully recovered from the disaster, many are waiting with bated breath for the decision on how to punish those responsible.

Via The New York Times and Treehugger

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