BP's Own Numbers Prove Spill Greater Than Estimate For several weeks, BP clung to the federal government's estimate that 5,000 barrels a day were leaking in the Gulf, even though independent scientists sharply disputed that figure. Now, the company is capturing that amount of oil each day -- and there is plenty more still spilling into the Gulf. The Obama administration has given BP 48 hours to hand over all its data.
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BP's Own Numbers Prove Spill Greater Than Estimate

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BP's Own Numbers Prove Spill Greater Than Estimate

BP's Own Numbers Prove Spill Greater Than Estimate

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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

From NPR News, it's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

MICHELE NORRIS, Host:

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

RICHARD HARRIS: Today, Congressman Ed Markey, a Massachusetts Democrat, proclaimed what has now become obvious.

ED MARKEY: The 5,000 barrels a day estimate that BP pushed all along is dead wrong.

HARRIS: Despite BP's success in drawing up that much oil, their own live video feed from the seafloor shows plenty more.

MARKEY: You can see plumes of oil spilling into the Gulf far in excess of 5,000 barrels per day.

HARRIS: Yesterday, a scientist told Markey's committee that one of those appears to be spewing about 25,000 barrels a day. And yet, BP spokesman Mark Proegler still says the company has no idea how much oil and gas is coming out from the leaking pipe, which is known as a riser.

MARK PROEGLER: We have said, from the beginning, it's difficult - our view is difficult, if not impossible, to measure at the riser. But, more importantly, our response is not dependent on what that rate is. It's, really - we're prepared for everything.

HARRIS: He says BP has launched a full-scale assault on oil at the surface. But Congressman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, finds that explanation lacking.

HENRY WAXMAN: It's an absurd position that BP has taken. That it's not important for them to know how much oil is gushing out of this pipeline. Well, if they don't know that, how are they going to plug it up?

HARRIS: Congressman Markey says it's also important to know how much oil is spilling since BP is attacking the oil underwater with chemicals called dispersants.

MARKEY: 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 risks.

HARRIS: Richard Harris, NPR News.

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