Oil Spill: Worse Than We Thought

As BP struggles, a warning that spill could greatly increase

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Today, President Obama endorsed a plan to radically reorganize the federal Minerals Management Services agency because of its conflict-of-interest relationship with the oil industry. The MMS collects billions of dollars in royalties from oil companies it is supposed to regulate. "It is pretty clear that the system failed, and failed badly," the president said in reference to how MMS and oil companies handled the approval process for the Gulf of Mexico oil well that blew out three weeks ago, gushing millions of gallons of oil into the sea.>

Also today, as reported by The New York Times:

Reacting to reports that federal regulators allowed extensive offshore drilling without first demanding the required environmental permits, the White House and the Interior Department said Friday that there would be a review of all actions taken by the Minerals Management Service, the agency responsible for offshore rigs, under the National Environmental Policy Act.

As British Petroleum tries another belt-and-suspenders approach to capping its Gulf oil spill, a White House science advisor is warning that things could get much worse if the spill isn’t stopped.

Actually the oil flow from the sea floor already is much worse than the 5,000 barrels per day BP and the government have been saying, according to a variety of scientific sources. They estimate the spill is more like 20,000 to 70,000 barrels, which would make the spill larger than the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska.

From 2006–2014, Terry was managing editor for Earthjustice's blog, online monthly newsletter and print Earthjustice Quarterly Magazine.