BP has argued that, since total flow rate was never measured we have no way of calculating the volume. To this day the company disputes the US government's estimate of 4.2 million barrels spilled into the Gulf, arguing that it was half that.
Beyond the obvious effects of this massive oil spill, and the ongoing court battle between the government, plaintiffs, and BP, the question needs to be asked: After the worst offshore blowout in US history, did we learn anything?
How long should BP have remained on probation, barred from doing business until the American workers and taxpayers have some confidence it has really changed? How about the same time period during which it insulted our trust -- at a minimum.
Yesterday afternoon, Margaret Brown's new film, The Great Invisible, premiered at SXSW in Austin. It is the story of the BP well blowout in the Gulf in 2010, and follows several main characters whose lives were forever changed by tragedy.
In a closed door deposition last month, Marcia McNutt, head of the U.S. Geological Survey, testified that BP did not disclose critical information to the government about the flow rate, and company emails clearly instructed BP employees to not disclose information outside the "circle of trust."
Tonight at 9:50 p.m. central time marks the anniversary of the exact time that BP's deepwater well named Macondo blew out, killing 11 workers, destroying Transocean's Deepwater Horizon, and putting five million barrels of oil into the water 5,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico.
Today marks the first anniversary of the worst environmental catastrophe in the history of the US. But, unfortunately, most Americans, including our politicians, are suffering from collective amnesia about that tragic event.
Over the course of the past six months, the commission has detected a deeply embedded problem that transcends the actions of specific companies: We found systemic regulatory failure to protect the American public's interest.
This disaster was certainly preventable and caused by poor design, poor decision making, and rushing to get the well completed. The tragic consequences should be a lesson to the entire industry, but I'm not holding my breath.
As opposed to the National Academy Engineering panel, the president's panel continues to focus on investigating what happened environmentally after the blowout as opposed to seeking out the actual causes of the blowout.
The big question remains. All of those 200 million gallons did not vanish. How much oil is buried in beach sands, embedded in marshes, is still dispersed in the water column or is lying on the sea floor?