The foreign oil giant BP has come under withering fire for questioning the existence of vast undersea oil plumes from the Deepwater Horizon disaster. BP’s skepticism is nearly matched by the federal government’s top ocean official, Dr. Jane Lubchenco, the ocean scientist in charge of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), raising more questions about the wisdom of the unnecessary federal collaboration with this environmental criminal.
In a teleconference with reporters, Lubchenco said that numerous teams of ocean scientists have found only “anomalies” that might or might not be oil which might or might not be from the BP disaster. She said that only chemical analysis to fingerprint water samples as being contaminated with the Deepwater Horizon’s oil should be considered confirmation of the plumes. Questioned by the Wonk Room, Lubchenco dismissed the findings of the University of Georgia research vessel Walton Smith team — who took physical samples of water contaminated with oil — as “circumstantial evidence.” After further questioning by Huffington Post’s Dan Froomkin, she then conceded:
It is quite possible there is oil under the surface. I think there is reason to believe that may be the case.
Although it is certainly true that chemical analysis of water samples will be definitive, the evidence for these “possible” oil plumes is far stronger than “circumstantial,” as today’s ABC News report about the Walton Smith mission shows:
Lubchenco’s expressed doubt of the existence of oil plumes is consistent with NOAA’s approach to other scientific questions about this environmental calamity. Like BP, she has dismissed the oil entrained in the loop current as a “very small amount of light sheen” which is “likely to be very, very diluted.” Like BP, Lubchenco claimed the 210,000-gallon-a-day guess for flow rate — which was questioned by independent scientists the day it came out on April 28 — was the “best estimate” for an entire month. Eventually NOAA admitted the actual flow rate was at least 240 to 500 percent greater.
Below is a timeline of the scientific research about these undersea plumes: Read more