Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
In the 77 days since oil from the ruptured Deepwater Horizon began to gush into the Gulf of Mexico, BP has skimmed or burned about 60 percent of the amount it promised regulators it could remove in a single day.
The disparity between what BP promised in its March 24 filing with federal regulators and the amount of oil recovered since the April 20 explosion underscores what some officials and environmental groups call a misleading numbers game that has led to widespread confusion about the extent of the spill and the progress of the recovery.
"It's clear they overreached," said John F. Young Jr., council chairman in Louisiana's Jefferson Parish. "I think the federal government should have at the very least picked up a phone and started asking some questions and challenged them about the accuracy of that number and tested the veracity of that claim."
In a March report that was not questioned by federal officials, BP said it had the capacity to skim and remove 491,721 barrels of oil each day in the event of a major spill.
As of Monday, with about 2 million barrels released into the gulf, the skimming operations that were touted as key to preventing environmental disaster have averaged less than 900 barrels a day.