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The President's National Oil Spill Commission released preliminary findings today from its investigation into BP's oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Read more about how the White House hid the truth on the spill, and what we know now.

The President's National Oil Spill Commission released preliminary findings today from its investigation into BP's oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.

And its initial findings will cause at least two major headaches, I mean headlines, for the White House.

First, the report finds that the White House blocked efforts by federal scientists to publicly reveal how high the oil spill rate was  based on modeling they had to estimate the worse case scenario.

In section 2 called The Fate of the Oil Released, there are two major issues. First says that the numbers that the Administration used to base its announcement that most of the oil had just disappeared was in fact not meant to be rigorous accounting. And second, in a section called The Fate of all Hydrocarbons, a study done in late September concluded that "most of the initial biodegradation in the plumes involved gaseous hydrocarbons (propane and ethane), rather than oil". Meaning that what happened to most of the oil remains a mystery.

Let's take the first piece. The Obama White House, for whatever reason and we can make a fair guess, did not want to disclose to the public how bad the oil spill could really be. Much like BP, the government instead chose to paint rosy scenarios about the size and impact of the spill. Who was the White House protecting? Certainly not the good people of the Gulf Coast. Certainly not the American public.  And certainly not the Gulf of Mexico.

Visiting the Gulf.

Now part 2, the White House continues to shakily stand by their initial assertions that 75% of the oil has disappeared. They based that on an "Oil Budget" estimate meant to help responders with their efforts, not as a definitive estimate. However, the commission report states that the Oil Budget was simply not designed to explain, or capable of explaining, the "fate of the oil". It was not robust enough scientifically for that. Much like BP who wants to down play the presence of oil in the ecosystem and it's effects because of legal liability, the White House is joining the industry chorus perhaps to down play it's political liability.

There's much in this report that's revealing but one last piece perfectly states why the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise is in the Gulf conducting independent science and why we're thankful others are as well. In the study mentioned above, much of the bio-degradation the Administration hoped was eating the oil was not. It is eating gaseous hydrocarbons like propane and ethane. The oil is still out there and instead of 'fessing up to the extent that remains and the damage it will do likely for decades, the government joins with industry to keep us in the dark.

Now the White House hopes we will take their word that we can indeed go forward with more offshore drilling and that it can be done safely. How many more fossil fuel disasters will it take for our politicians to lead us out of this rut and into the secure and environmentally friendly renewable energy future we need? Instead the White House and Congress are all pushing for Drill Baby Drill as per the President's statement back in March.

Originally posted to Phil Radford II Greenpeace on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:02 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Your post is another win for Republican PR (4+ / 0-)

      One of the pillars of corporate control is the willingness of supposed reform organizations to sabotage change.

      Three weeks from a critical election and the media is full of trigger stories and willing dupes ready to carry the story to target audiences.

      See how Joe Barton acts to protect the arctic.

      And your "facts" are not true. For example, the worst case release, as the MSNBC report makes clear was made public.

      People must enjoy being spun.

      •  Oh hush. (4+ / 0-)

        This is important.  We need real transparency on what happened in the Gulf.  Regardless of how anyone chooses to spin this story, we all need to know what the WH is going to do going forward.

        This is not about electoral politics.  This is something that will affect everyone in this country and beyond.

        You also spammed Detroit Mark's diary with these kinds of remarks.  Luckily, you were unable to derail the real discussion and FishOutOfWater added to the real discussion with a diary of  his/her own.

        •  Real transparency? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          amk for obama

          Like assertions of fact that can be shown to be nonsense with 10 seconds on google?

          Detroit Mark claimed "corrupt coverup" based on nothing but his own imagination.

          In your mind apparently "real" discussion is a bunch of fact free booing and cheering.

          •  Yes, real transparency. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chigh, wabird

            Unless you are claiming the report stated that the government, this Administration, was properly transparent.  Are you making that claim?

            Detroit Mark made a good case for his opinion that this was a corrupt cover-up.  Fish Out of Water shed even more light on this story.

            You have a different opinion.  All opinions should be aired because this is an extremely important issue that affects us all.

            Regardless of all that, I responded to your comment because you tried to make the case that this discussion is bad for electoral victory for Dems.

            This story is not about electoral politics, citizen k.

            •  not about electoral politics? (0+ / 0-)

              3 weeks before the election and someone writes

              And its initial findings will cause at least two major headaches, I mean headlines, for the White House

              and it's not about electoral politics?

              Well, it certainly does not seem to be about science. Because then I'd expect some, you know, data.

              As for Mark, if you want to make an accusation of corruption you should provide some data to support your case instead of just an "opinion" based on conjecture.

              •  That's right. (0+ / 0-)

                It is not about electoral politics.

                Nor is it only about science.

                It's about folks' trust in government and it's about getting real and accurate and transparent information from our government when a catastrophe happens.

                It should cause major headaches for the White House and major headlines as well. The WH could use this opportunity to reach out to us and say what they are going to do to make their errors - errors the report pointed out - much less likely to happen.  That's their choice -- but this issue is NOT about electoral politics much as you might want to make it so.

                Everyone here is expressing "opinions," including you.  My opinion is that Mark backed up what he was saying very well and Fish Out of Water added information that did not contradict what Mark said.

                If the kind of transparency we as citizens deserve had existed we wouldn't need to have this conversation.  That's the whole point.  Unless of course you are claiming the report states the Administration was adequately transparent.

                •  opinions versus facts (0+ / 0-)

                  It's not an opinion that the government did not release worst case estimates, it's a false assertion.

                  While those figures were used as the basis for the government's response to the spill — they appeared on an internal Coast Guard situation report and on a dry-erase board in NOAA's Seattle war room — they were never announced to the public, according to the report.
                  However, they were, in fact, announced, as news stories from May 2 to May 5 show, though the figures received little attention at the time.

                  If you can't get basic facts right, your opinions mean nothing. And it's very odd that people keep citing this news report without pointing out that it contradicts the claim.

                  Similarly, as a matter of fact, Mark was unable to produce any data to support his charge of corruption other than a kind of circular reasoning argument.

                  There are valid criticisms of the government response to the oil spill and its prior failure to reform MMS. But there is a difference between valid criticism and factesque arguments.

                  •  Oh cut it out. (0+ / 0-)

                    Do you or do you not make the claim that the report -- the report commissioned by President Obama -- supports the notion that this Administration was appropriately transparent?  Because it reads to me that the latter is the finding -- and it also reads to me that there is more to this story that we need to know.

                    Again, stop changing the subject.  You are the one making the claim this is bad for electing Dems.  That's your opinion and I find it to be without merit.

                    As far as Detroit Mark's or Fish out of Water's takes on this story, I found them compelling -- we disagree on that.

                    This discussion is important and you are not going to stop it from happening no matter how much you may wish to.  The report IS going to be a headache for the Administration, and it should be.  They need to respond appropriately to their own mistakes.

                    •  the report is shown to be wrong on the facts (0+ / 0-)

                      so I'm dubious.

                      And for myself, I don't think the problem with the administration response was transparency at all - and I don't see any reason to believe otherwise. For example  Carol Browner's dumb Her stupid assertion about 75% of the oil being gone, and I'm pretty sure she meant "surface oil" although she may not have understood that, was not a failure of transparency, it was something contradicted by other information released by the government.

                      "Less oil on the surface does not mean that there isn't oil still in the water column or that our beaches and marshes aren't still at risk," NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco cautioned in a news release.

                  •  *clarification* (0+ / 0-)

                    "the latter" being that the report found the government was not appropriately transparent.

      •  Your post is another win for assholes everywhere. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mike Taylor

        Fuck off and stop telling people to shut up so that your blue team can win an election. What the fuck is wrong with you? The planet could be on fire and you would sit there and tell people to shut up about it because it might look bad for the Democratic candidate? Unbelievable.

        My hope is that someone comes to your house and dumps a few thousand barrels of crude on you and everything that you own. Then comes in and dumps Corexit on top of that, then lights it all on fire. Then tells you that the oil is gone. Then tells you to shut the fuck up or you will spoil some millionaire politician puppet's chances of winning an election.

        You absolutely make me sick.

        Way to jump the tip jar.

      •  Rec'ed diary because of citizen k's opposition (0+ / 0-)

        If the diary gets the conservative wing calling for suppression, then it needs to be recommended.

        This election is like going into a job interview with a resume that only says how much the other candidates suck.

        by Celtic Pugilist on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 09:51:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I for one am Shocked.. Shocked.. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DaleA, Hunter Huxley, Earth Ling

    there's gambling in this casino..

    Heartbreaking, and Predictable.

  •  Since when did a hypothetical (10+ / 0-)

    worst case scenario become "The Truth?"

  •  The worst part ... (5+ / 0-)

    ... beyond the moral question itself, of course, is that there was no earthly reason for doing it.


    They didn't need to pretty up the picture because the spill belonged to someone else and the negatives on their response were fairly tepid.

  •  If it was indeed their intent, (4+ / 0-)

    then they didn't do a very good job of hiding either the truth or the oil.

    We have had a couple rec-listed diaries on this here the past few days.

    We know the truth now, and the oil & toxic dispersant is still there.

    Quit yer whinin' and GOTFV.

    by LaughingPlanet on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:15:04 AM PDT

  •  Coordinated media crisis management (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Between the Feds and BP.

    Why? Isn't one of those parties supposed to be the cop?

    "One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

    by greendem on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:15:37 AM PDT

  •  As stated in another blog. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    megisi, wabird

    "AG Eric Holder, or President Obama have remained silent and missing in action."

    No surprise, since the pattern of maintaining the status quo, even to the detriment of the American Public, is now reflexive for our president and our Democaratic party.

    Between this and;
    HR 3808, or
    Granting exceptions to HCR legislation, or
    Unwinding any actual finance reform, perhaps I should go AWOL from the polls in less than a month.

    Distrust of authority should be the first civic duty. - Norman Douglas

    by Fossil on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:16:14 AM PDT

  •  SO )(@e#@(*) WHAT? N/T (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    citizen k

    Do I have to be the one to tell Kendrick to drop out.

    by mim5677 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:16:54 AM PDT

  •  LIVE 24/7 camera filming the spill (6+ / 0-)

    There was no hiding of the truth.....the panel had 5 months to study and criticize something that is OVER.  The white house SOLVED the problem while this panel did nothing but criticize.  The amount of oil spilled changed when new information was gathered.

  •  Not good news when elections are (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    coming up. The question is why? Seems like they would learn by now getting in bed with business is not a good idea.

    Now the White House hopes we will take their word that we can indeed go forward with more offshore drilling and that it can be done safely

    The more they invite business to the table the worst it is....

    Vote 11.2.10 the penalty for refusing to participate in politics you end up being governed by your inferiors. Plato

    by coffejoe on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:20:46 AM PDT

  •  And yet here we are (6+ / 0-)

    with the unvarnished truth requested by the White House. Go figure. I am trying to remember when this has ever happened this quickly. I can't because it never has happened before.

    In the choice between changing ones mind and proving there's no need to do so, most people get busy on the proof.

    by jsfox on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:31:04 AM PDT

    •  We are far ... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RJDixon74135, Great Lakes Gal, wabird

      ... from knowing the "unvarnished truth" about this story.

      The story isn't over.

      The real story will be what the Administration does with this information moving forward.

      •  There's no mystery about what this administration (0+ / 0-)

        will do "going forward". They’ll continue to "look forward" and let the worst kind of criminals (war criminals, financial criminals, environmental criminals etc.)  off the hook and reward failure at every opportunity (Wall Street bailouts, subsidies to murder-by-spreadsheet private health insurers, not prosecuting war criminals etc.).
        You think they're going to turn over a new leaf? That’s super-naïve.  They’ll keep running interference for and rewarding the most corrupt elements in our society at the expense of society.

  •  Not surprise... it was obvious to those of us who (7+ / 0-)

    were paying attention.

    The timeline and context is important to remember. Off the top of my head it went something like this.

    HCR passed... riding the wave of accomplishment Obama announced his Energy plan to lift the offshore drilling moratorium about a week or so later.

    Obama was strongly criticized by scientists, environmentalists, and clean energy advocates. He was also criticized by the Right because all though he gave them a huge amount of what they wanted, apparently he didn't go far enough by lifting the restrictions in ANWR. But we know they would have still criticized him even if they Obama had.

    Many of Obama's defenders were claiming that lifting the offshore drilling ban was a good strategic move because it under cut the Rights mantra of 'Drill, Drill Baby Drill' There was much lambasting here at Kos for anyone who criticized Obama's new Energy Plan. Bad policy makes bad politics.

    Obama was doing political events and during q&s with the public he was saying offshore drilling was safe and that there were no leaks offshore even during Katrina. Which was blatantly false.

    Then an explosion happened in the Gulf.

    On Earth Day the Deepwater Horizon sunk. It had been on fire for a few days prior.

    For several days (if not over a week) the White House was silent.

    From the beginning the White House was downplaying the situation and consistently gave BP, Transocean and Halliburton the benefit of the doubt.

    Months later we learned any scientists working for the Government were being asked to sign confidentiality agreements for undetermined amount of time. Which kept away many independent researchers who would have been a great  resource.

    There is a lot I've left out. But I'm sure this diary will get a fair amount of criticism by folks who say "We Have An Election Dammit, Don't Knock The Dems Now!!!"

    Living in an era of a permanent campaign... I guess it's never a good time to hold those we elected accountable.

    "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

    by jethrock on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:31:15 AM PDT

    •  Urgh. I know my comment is riddled with typos (0+ / 0-)

      I'm having Wi-Fi problems. Type a couple letters... wait for the spinning pinwheel to stop... type a couple more. Repeat.

      "Trying to hold back the revision of history is always a good thing." -- Peter Christopherson

      by jethrock on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:37:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  And we never got a 'worst case' on H1N1 either! (2+ / 0-)

    How can we keep fear alive if these worst case scenarios are shielded from public view?

    I ♥ President Barack Obama.

    by ericlewis0 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:36:48 AM PDT

  •  Obama or not (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Government withholding key data on Gulf seafood testing, scientists say

    Now true, it's just scientists - wtf do THEY know?

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and FDA officials maintain they've provided results of ongoing Gulf seafood safety tests with the utmost transparency. But outside scientists, eager to perform independent evaluations of the government's findings, complain the information released contains far too many unknown variables that preclude peer review.

    In recent interviews, FDA and NOAA officials told Raw Story that they've been completely transparent in sharing ongoing Gulf seafood testing data, protocol and methodologies.

    Whenever we reopened [waters], we'd post the data that we used and the FDA certified it as good enough to reopen," said NOAA spokeswoman Christine Patrick. "So that's all publicly available and it has been since we started reopening."

    And the scientists state otherwise.

    The government has provided all sorts of prostitution-like services for BP whether Obama has personally signed-off on it or not.

    I think it's an EPA thing, but even they were kept out of the loop as the OMB dealt with the issue.

    Spray tons of carcinogens into the ocean to hide petroleum spewed from a hastily-drilled hole from a greedy corporation, but don't smoke pot.

    by xxdr zombiexx on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:54:23 AM PDT

  •  Sad to say, but Oobama may need a refresher (0+ / 0-)

    lesson about who and what Democrats are and care about. Fortunately, he's a quick learner.

    Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction -- Pascal

    by RJDixon74135 on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 08:55:47 AM PDT

  •  Meh (0+ / 0-)

    Image and video hosting by TinyPic

    Get in Gear. 2010 or Bust.
    Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.

    by amk for obama on Thu Oct 07, 2010 at 10:06:04 AM PDT

    •  I'm happy that the planet will make your (0+ / 0-)

      life miserable some day. I'm saddened that the rest of us will also be miserable dealing with the mess that horrible people like you agreed to ignore.

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