Thursday, November 25, 2010

E-mails show struggle to guess size of Gulf spill

By LARRY MARGASAK The Associated Press
Thursday, November 25, 2010; 7:08 AM

WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration struggled behind the scenes to determine how much oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico from a BP well this year and defended estimates that for months were inaccurate, according to thousands of government e-mails.

A senior scientist who led the federal effort, Bill Lehr of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, noted that the administration went public with a summary of estimates before experts could finish their work.

An Environmental Protection Agency memo, one of many showing uncertainty, said, "EPA agrees that the ultimate message to the public will likely be that the oil was successfully dispersed with chemical dispersants, but until we know with some degree of certainty ... we are hesitant to assign distinct percentages at this time."



FILE - This April 21, 2010 file photo shows the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, off the southeast tip of Louisiana. A new study from the presidential oil spill commission describes the behind-the-scenes, excruciating tension and mistakes behind the three-month effort to cap the busted well. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Gerald Herbert - AP)

FILE - This April 21, 2010 file photo shows the Deepwater Horizon oil rig burning after an explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, off the southeast tip of Louisiana. A new study from the presidential oil spill commission describes the behind-the-scenes, excruiating tension and mistakes behind the three-month effort to cap the busted well. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

SEE MORE:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/25/AR2010112500480.html

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