The Independent reported on Oct. 8:
The White House was facing allegations yesterday that it had muzzled its own scientists in the early days and weeks of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill so that the public would be ignorant of the potential scale of the environmental disaster that was unfolding.
A paper written for the National Commission established by President Barack Obama to investigate what happened suggests that officials at the White House stood in the way of scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) when they were preparing to release details of a worst-case scenario for the blow-out including a top-end estimate of the rate of flow of oil into the sea.
In a second report also written for the Commission, investigators say that “for the first 10 days of the spill, it appears that a sense of over-optimism affected responders”.
As the spill worsened BP came under wide criticism for allegedly attempting to downplay the scale of the leak. The findings of the National Commission indicate that the government in Washington was playing a similar game.
In the days immediately after the explosion, both Washington and BP said they were assuming a leak rate of between 1,000 and 5,000 barrels a day. But in the weeks after the leak rate was revised upwards in several increments and by early August stood at 62,000 barrels a day.
The paper says that the “decision to withhold worst-case discharge figures” may have been made at a high level, suggesting that the President himself may have been involved.
Read more of the Independent’s report here. The White House has denied the accusations, but keep in mind that Obama recieved more of BP’s campaign contributions than anyone else over the past 20 years.