While Thursday didn't appear to change anything about the reality of the oil flowing from the BP gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, some things did change.
For instance, BP publicly dropped its claim Thursday that the oil gushing into the gulf was flowing at a rate of 5,000 barrels a day. More is flowing into the water, BP now admits.
The company based its new position on the fact that its mile-long tube that is diverting oil from the gusher is collecting about 5,000 barrels a day and, as the video shows, there is still plenty of oil flowing into the ocean. BP didn't hazard a new guess as to how much oil is actually polluting the gulf.
Then there was Rep. Ed Markey who said the new live video stream released by BP as well as estimates by some scientists indicate that BP was intentionally low-balling its estimate of the oil release. This led him to say that, going forward, BP couldn't be trusted.
At a news conference Thursday afternoon Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), who heads a House energy and global warming committee and had pushed for BP to release the live video, said:
One of the major points that we should take away from this video is that the 5,000 barrels a day estimate that BP pushed all along is dead wrong.
Today, BP is claiming that they are siphoning off 5,000 barrels a day, but if you look at the video, you can see flumes of oil spilling into the Gulf far in excess of 5,000 barrels per day. These videos stand as a scalding, blistering indictment of BP's inattention to the scope and size of the greatest environmental catastrophe in the history of the United States.
I also have learned today that the EPA has responded to questions about the use of toxic dispersants and said that they will direct BP to use less toxic oil dispersants as they try to contain the spill. It is very important that we not allow BP to conduct a science experiment in the oceans of the United States without the closest supervision in terms of the amount of toxic material that is put into the ocean as a way of controlling this spill...
In response to a question, he said:
... Well, the reason it's important is that scientists have now found at least one plume under water that is 10 miles long, three miles wide, that is beneath the surface and it could be heading towards that loop that could take it towards the Florida Keys and up through Palm Beach and there could be much else that's going on underneath the surface of the ocean.
We are conducting, so far, a science experiment shooting chemicals into the water in an unprecedented fashion, moreover, the amount of chemicals which are being dispersants, which are being shot into the water, it seems to me should be dependent upon the size of the problem. If it's 5,000 barrels, it's going to be one level of dispersant that would be sent into the water. If it's 50,000 or 75,000 barrels per day, that's yet another level and increases dramatically the risk that this science experiment could invoke the law of unintended consequences.
So the size of it is very important because, ultimately, communities will have to respond in a much greater way along the coastline as well...
.. Well, I believe that BP is the principal responsible party. The work has been done by BP right from the get go. They've been in charge of what is happening. I think, now, they're beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP. People do not trust the experts any longer. BP has lost all credibility and now the decisions will have to be made by others because it's clear that
they have been hiding the actual consequences of this spill and that is just one more example of dispersants of where they no longer should have that responsibility.