Live video of the ongoing oil disaster in the Gulf will soon be available to the public. Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), chair of the House global warming committee, called on BP to publicly release the live feeds of its Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster before a hearing Wednesday on the scientific efforts to understand the scale of the growing devastation to the Gulf of Mexico. The feed will be available at globalwarming.house.gov.
What few clips have been released have led independent experts to estimate two to four million gallons of oil are spewing into the gulf every day, many times greater than the official guess of 210,000 gallons. The federal government does not even have any copies of the video archives, which are being kept in BP headquarters in Houston. Questioned by the Wonk Room on Monday, US Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said that despite requests from the Coast Guard and Congress, BP headquarters in Houston had not yet released any recordings of the live video feeds from their remote submersibles other than a few thirty-second clips:
After Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bill Nelson (D-FL) contacted BP, Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, and MMS Director Elizabeth Birnbaum calling for “public release of any and all video footage showing details of oil gushing from the broken pipe and wellhead 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, where the Deepwater Horizon rig sank last month,” BP released four more clips:
The disaster has now continued for nearly a month — 40,000 minutes — pumping tens of millions of gallons of toxic oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Independent experts have used what little video is available to confirm prior analysis that the official estimate of flow rate is five to twenty times too small. One expert analyst estimates oil is gushing out at four million gallons a day. There has been no legitimate reason the video wasn’t being streamed live this past month, so that elected officials, the media, the public, and researchers could provide much needed oversight and insight.