For Immediate Release
Obama’s BP Oil Spill Report Favored Public Relations Over Scientific Concerns
WASHINGTON - A White House report on last year’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill appears to have ignored scientific advice from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in order to advance a public relations agenda, according to email exchanges obtained by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).
EPA scientists raised concerns about how much success the Obama administration could attribute to chemical dispersants used on the oil released after the BP Deepwater Horizon explosion. In one email, an EPA official warned against trying to “distinguish between naturally and chemically dispersed oil in the ocean.”
Those concerns were overruled because they did not fit in with the goals of the “communication product” being developed by the EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the White House, according to the emails.
SCROLL TO CONTINUE WITH CONTENT
Get our best delivered to your inbox.
In a letter sent Tuesday to President Barack Obama, POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian asked him to live up to his campaign promise of restoring scientific integrity in government policy.
“It’s extremely troubling that the White House may have suppressed sound scientific recommendations in order to massage its message to the public,” Brian said. “The enormous consequences of the oil spill should not be oversimplified—the public expects a scientifically credible explanation of what happened in the Gulf.”
The emails currently in POGO’s possession also show the that White House pushed the agencies to precisely quantify the spill as 4.9 million barrels, even though scientists thought an estimate of 3-5 million barrels was more accurate. While the distinction may appear subtle, it is an example of the White House glossing over the uncertainties that are often inherent in scientific calculations, Brian wrote.
This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.
Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Won't Exist.
Please select a donation method:
The Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is an independent nonprofit that investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more effective, accountable, open and honest federal government.