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Underwater Plumes: Doug Suttles DENIES Existence Of Large Concentrations Of Oil Beneath The Surface, Contradicting Scientists

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles continues to insist that no massive underwater oil plumes in "large concentrations" have been detected from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Suttles' comments came Wednesday morning on network news shows, a day after the government said water tests confirmed underwater oil plumes from the oil spill, but that concentrations are "very low."

Suttles told NBC's "Today" show that it "may be down to how you define what a plume is here."

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said Tuesday that the tests conducted at three sites by a University of South Florida research vessel confirmed oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface 42 miles northeast of the well site.

Meredith Vieira was hardhitting with her questions to Doug Suttles, probing him around the fact that BP still doesn't know how much oil is leaking, and asking if the company is playing games on the advice of its legal team.

WATCH the whole interview:

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HuffPost's Dan Froomkin reported yesterday:

On this, the eighth week of the disaster, more and more solid evidence of giant plumes is emerging from a variety of sources. The Associated Press is reporting that tests "have confirmed underwater plumes dozens of miles from the broken wellhead off Louisiana that's been gushing oil since late April, NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said in Washington. A University of South Florida research vessel confirmed oil as far as 3,300 feet below the surface 42 miles northeast of the site and 142 miles southeast, Lubchenco said at a briefing."

Greenwire reports: "Researchers aboard the F.G. Walton Smith vessel briefed reporters on a two-week cruise in which they traced an underwater oil plume 15 miles wide, 3 miles long and about 600 feet thick. The plume's core is 1,100 to 1,300 meters below the surface, they said. 'It's an infusion of oil and gas unlike anything else that has ever been seen anywhere, certainly in human history,' said Samantha Joye of the University of Georgia, the expedition leader."

And the Washington Post reported from aboard the Thomas Jefferson that "this survey vessel of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has found erratic, moving clouds of hydrocarbons -- which may be oil and gas -- at depths of more than 3,600 feet less than eight nautical miles from the site of the BP oil spill, officials said Tuesday."

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