NWF: BP cover-up begins to unravel

BP admits the obvious, sort of, and the smoking gun reappears

The news is coming fast and furious now — well, it’s coming fast, and all of us should be furious:

BP Admits They Underestimated The Amount Of Oil Leaking As More Washes On Shore

A BP spokesman “said a mile-long tube inserted into a leaking pipe over the weekend is capturing 210,000 gallons a day – the total amount the company … [has] estimated is gushing into the sea – but some is still escaping. He would not say how much.”

Duh.  At least they can still do simple math.

BP Smoking Gun? Oil Giant Skipped Critical Testing Hours Before Explosion

BP hired a reputable oilfield service company to test the strength of cement linings on the well, but then sent the company’s workers home 11 hours before the explosion on April 20 — “without performing a final check that a top cementing company executive called ‘the only test that can really determine the actual effectiveness’ of the well’s seal,” reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

I reported on this still smoldering gun over a week ago — see “The three causes of BP’s Titanic oil disaster: Recklessness, Arrogance, and Hubris:  Expert reviewer finds well’s cement seal “was probably faulty” and inadequately tested (to save money).”  But that story adds key details.

National Wildlife Federation’s President & CEO Larry Schweiger therefore seems on  point with his comment on the post, “BP Cover-Up Begins to Unravel“:

It is now clear that BP had hoped to cover up the damage of their oil spill by withholding video evidence of the size of the gushers and preventing independent analysis. In Washington, it’s been said that ‘it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up’ – but in this case, it’s both the crime and the cover-up that are an outrage.

The Gulf of Mexico is a crime scene and BP cannot be left in charge of assessing the damage or controlling the data from their spill. The public deserves sound science, not sound bites from BP’s CEO.

I want to thank EPA Administrator Jackson for her ongoing efforts to make information available to the public, including the first release today of BP’s sub-surface dispersant testing data. The information is available at

It becomes clearer every day that BP is guilty of gross negligence and outright falsehoods (see “Should you believe anything BP says?“.  It is time for CEO Tony ‘Soprano’ Hayward to go.

7 Responses to NWF: BP cover-up begins to unravel

  1. Doug Bostrom says:

    Joe’s right, BP’s operation was a shambles and not by accident.

    Look at their record and anybody will have to agree, BP has not understood that safety and responsibility are not optional. They’ve now got a solid track record of accepting fines as a cost of doing business, and no wonder comparing the cost of their infractions to their profits.

    It’s time to go beyond civil penalties and teach BP using the next available method. In fact, wouldn’t BP be an excellent poster child to demonstrate what happens to corporate scofflaws? How about Hayward personally in the dock, facing some judicially administered “country club” time?

    Check recent history and as usual we see that China is more crisply emphatic in matters such as this, where a company has laid out a clear track of flaunting the law. If this were China and Hayward were so unlucky as to be a Chinese citizen he and the next few layers down in the BP command chain would be looking at jail time, no doubt about it. Quite possibly worse, even; China has in fact resorted to capital punishment for environmental transgressions less than this one.

  2. homunq says:

    It would be great to see some corporate execs go to the slammer. And if we dig enough, there’s probably some gross negligence which would be enough to send them there. But what we do know already, beyond a shadow of a doubt, is that there was a culture of negligence. I’d like to see new laws that start to make specific crimes of that nature. When significant portions of the planet are at stake, the buck has to stop somewhere, and that’s what laws are for.

  3. Wit's End says:

    Solve Climate has an amazing story about the methane and the explosion, linked to here:
    The degree of mendacity in this sorry episode is astounding.

  4. catman306 says:

    If you’d like to boycott BP, here are all their brands:

    am/pm stores
    Wild Bean Cafe

  5. Chris Winter says:

    Here’s some good analysis of the corporate culture that led to BP’s accident.

  6. johna says:

    Could the annual Memorial Day tradition of high gasoline prices be on hold this year? I wouldn’t be surprised if refiners were pumping up gas supplies to avoid giving Congress another reason to regulate. Someone familiar with industry operations should analyze the refinery product mix since the blowout. Then compare that to historical averages and see if the production rates of alternate products is out-of-whack.

  7. Doug Bostrom says:

    Chris Winter says: May 20, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    Here’s some good analysis of the corporate culture that led to BP’s accident.

    Excellent writeup, thank you! Other here have mentioned the Challenger accident as an analog; I’m sure some of same creeping complacency was at play in this case. “Well, we’ve had dead batteries on the BOP before, nothing bad happened. Let’s downgrade that to deferred maintenance…”