The Federal Government has claimed that the daily amount of oil that is being spilled on a daily basis from the BP rig into the Gulf of Mexico is around 5,000 barrels a day. A barrel of oil is 42 gallons, so that makes it 210,000 gallons per day assuming its 5,000 barrels a day. But, according to a recent New York Times article, environmental groups and scientists are challenging the daily spill rate after seeing the most recent video of the oil plume rising from the ocean floor. The article further revealed that the scientific method used by the government to calculate the daily flow is specifically not used for major oil spills. BP and the Government are refusing the use of the proper measuring method to calculate the actual flow coming out of the well. An oceanographer at Florida State University, Ian R. MacDonald, has announced that through the use of imaging satellites his calculations are showing a daily release of oil that could be four to five times the government’s estimate. Scientists are claiming that without knowing the actual number of barrels being released, that they cannot estimate the amount of damage that is being done to the ocean and onshore. Both BP and the Federal Government are not allowing scientists close to the site to actually determine the flow of oil from the well. The well is estimated to hold 50 million barrels of untapped oil. BP admitted to Congress that the worst case scenario would be 60,000 barrels of oil a day, a flow rate that would equal the Exxon Valdez spill every four days. All of this questioning is the result of a video that the government released claiming that the amount of oil coming out of the well was about 146 gallons per minute. For comparison, a garden house flows at 10 gallons per minute. Experts viewing the video released claim that the government is under estimating the flow of oil from the well. This disaster has the potential, if it hasn’t already, to far exceed the Exxon Valdez spill. The Feds and BP’s reluctance to come clean as to just how bad this spill is criminal. Without proper information, the future response to fixing the environmental damage will be ineffective.
Photo: Oil Slick Hitting the Beaches Photo Courtesy: Telegraph, UK