The numbers regarding the amount of oil that has gushed from the leaking BP oil well keep getting worse, and unbelievably, BP is still trying to put a self-protecting spin on the situation. From CNN:
Researchers have doubled estimates of how much oil has been gushing from a ruptured BP well, reporting that up to 40,000 barrels, or 1.7 million gallons, a day may have escaped for weeks.
If the latest estimate is correct, that would mean 90.1 million gallons have spewed in the 53 days since the rig exploded. That's more than eight times the amount spilled by the supertanker Exxon Valdez in Alaska's Prince William Sound in 1989.
In other words, the skeptics and BP-apologists who have been parroting the line that "this isn't as bad as the Exxon Valdez" are not only wrong, they've been wrong since the very first week - according to the new estimates, this BP disaster was already worse than the Exxon Valdez back in April.
Even with this higher number, there is still a good chance scientists are underestimating the true flow rate. That’s because the new figures do not count any increases that may have occurred since BP cut the well’s riser pipe to deploy a new containment system. BP had said prior to that operation that it could further increase the flow up to 20 percent. It will be several days before a new estimate taking that into account is available.
For its part, BP is downplaying the significance of the new estimate – something it seems to do every time news becomes worse. “The estimates of how much oil is actually coming out of the well we’ve made clear from the very beginning is just that, it’s an estimate,” BP Spokesman Hugh Depland told ABC News at an information session late Thursday arranged by the oil company and the U.S. Coast Guard.