Yet another heartwarming revelation has emerged from the depths of the ongoing saga of the BP Gulf spill -- and yes, that saga is still continuing, even if most folks who don't live in Louisiana, Alabama, or Mississippi don't seem to be aware of it. Anyhow, BP's behavior has been highly questionable at best at numerous points along the way -- deterring journalists, failing to provide cleanup workers with safety gear; the list goes on. Perhaps the most infamous bit of sliminess on BP's behalf was obscuring, excuse me, "misjudging" the true amount of oil that was flooding into the Gulf. In the video interview above, a part of Project Gulf Impact, a scientist hired by BP explains exactly how the oil company tried to trick him and his peers into underestimating the size of the spill. The events he describes really aren't be too surprising -- though they should be. By now we know all too well that BP continually underestimated the scope of the leak beneath the Deepwater Horizon in a brazen attempt to whittle down the amount it would owe in fines, and to minimize PR damage. We know now that they were intent to limit the spill size to 5,000 barrels a day, when it turned out to be exponentially larger. And, of course, we're well aware that BP had perfectly good underwater cameras trained on the source of the geyser -- and that they could have come up with more accurate estimates much, much sooner.
It should be infuriating that BP tried to trick these scientists into believing the spill was smaller than it was -- better information could have helped the Coast Guard, regional response teams, and the Obama administration better react to the disaster. But the oil company put its own interests before that of the entire Gulf region's citizens and ecosystems.
And too much blame shouldn't be heaped specifically on BP for this -- rather, it should give us an opportunity to recognize that this is how corporations behave when faced with situations that could negatively impact its bottom line. They use any available means to protect their profits; it's what they're designed to do.
That said, lying to scientists at the expense of the region's well-being? Pretty low, BP -- even for you.