Is Obama Administration and BP Covering Up Size of Oil Spill?

Last week, Obama criticized the executives of BP America, Transocean and Halliburton for blaming each other doing a congressional hearing. “I did not appreciate what I considered to be a ridiculous spectacle during the congressional hearings into this matter,” Obama said. “You had executives of BP and Transocean and Halliburton falling over each other to point the finger of blame at somebody else.  The American people could not have been impressed with that display, and I certainly wasn’t.”

I agree with Obama’s assessment of the congressional hearings, but this week after hearing remarks by Senator Bill Nelson (FL-D) about the oil spill, I am starting to wonder if there is a cover up by BP and the Obama administration about the true size of the oil spill. While appearing on MSNBC, Nelson said he has asked BP and the Obama administration to release their pictures of the oil spill. Nelson wrote a letter to Lamar McKay, the chairman and president of BP America, asking the company to release “any and all” video it has on the oil spill. “The United States government and American people have a right to know what is going on at the Deepwater Horizon well,” Nelson wrote in a letter to Lamar McKay, the chairman and president of BP America.

Senator Barbara Boxer (CA-D) accused BP of trying to cover up the size of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. While appearing on CNN, Boxer said, “It’s just not working,” and denounced what she called a “cover up” of the true size of the oil spill. “The truth needs to be told … At some point we need to stop all this cover-up,” Boxer added, citing estimates by scientists who believe the oil spill is higher, up to 70,000 barrels, per day or more.

What does the Obama administration say about the idea of a cover up? When asked about the possibility of a cover up of the size of the oil spill, the White House press secretary, Robert Gibbs called the idea “ridiculous.”

Karl Burkart from the Mother Nature Network pointed out that President Obama received a “hefty campaign contribution” from BP. In fact, Obama received the largest campaign contribution from BP, a total of $77,051.

The Minerals Management Service (MMS) permitted BP and dozens of other oil companies to drill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the New York Times, “without getting first getting required permits from another agency that assesses threats to endangered species,” including the Deepwater Horizon rig which exploded on April 20.

“MMS has given up any pretense of regulating the offshore oil industry,” said Kierán Suckling, director of the Center for Biological Diversity. “The agency seems to think its mission is to help the oil industry evade environmental laws.”

Kendra Barkoff, a spokeswoman for the Interior Department, said in response to accusations that agency scientists were silenced, “Under the previous administration, there was a pattern of suppressing science in decisions, and we are working very hard to change the culture and empower scientists in the Department of the Interior.” It seems the Interior Department is guilty of the type of “finger pointing” BP, Transocean and Halliburton executives did last week.

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer and journalist armed with a degree in journalism, and a passion for social justice, including the environment and sustainability. She writes for various websites, and has made the 75+ Environmentalists to Follow list by Mashable.com.