BP Refuses to Provide Information on Size of Flow to Chairman Markey; Resists Help From Scientists; Markey Calls for Release of More Video to Aid Independent Analysis

WASHINGTON (May 16, 2010) -- Even as independent scientific reports surface on the presence of giant underwater plumes of oil emanating from BP's sunken, damaged oil pipe, the oil company continued to reject the involvement of outside scientists to assist in the assessment of the size of the leak. The refusal comes as BP attempts for a third time to siphon oil from the leaking pipe on the sea floor.BP also failed today to provide any useful information to Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) who queried the company on Friday about its estimates on the rate of the flow and its continued refusal to engage with independent scientists, giving a 24 hour deadline for a response. A BP spokesman was quoted today in the New York Times as saying, "We're not going to take any extra efforts now to calculate flow there at this point."

"BP is burying its head in the sand on these underwater threats. These huge plumes of oil are like hidden mushroom clouds that indicate a larger spill than originally thought and portend more dangerous long-term fallout for the Gulf of Mexico's wildlife and economy," said Rep. Markey, chair of the Subcommittee on Energy and the Environment in the Energy and Commerce Committee. "We must bring this spill to an end and prepare for additional impacts from oil yet unseen."

Following an empty response from BP today to Rep. Markey's Friday query, which asked for documents and explanations related to the estimate of a 5,000 barrel per day flow from the leak, Rep. Markey called on BP to immediately release additional video to help scientists remotely begin a more robust independent analysis. Late last week, staff from Rep. Markey's office discussed with scientists ways to analyze the rate of flow from the leak. The scientists said the release of additional video of the leak, ideally an hour or more, could help to provide a more accurate judge of the size of the leak.

"Up until now, BP has relied on satellite information to determine the size of the leak. But if there are plumes under the waves, how can they just wave off the possibility that there is more oil than meets the eye?" asked Rep. Markey. "There is no invasion of privacy in releasing more video of the oil leak, only a risk of more invasive oil from a larger-than-estimated spill."

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