Gulf oil spill: White House blocked and put spin on scientists’ warnings
Investigative report into the BP oil spill reveals US government blocked scientists model data two weeks after the rig explosion
BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil rig seen burning in April. A report commissioned by Barack Obama has revealed that the White House office of management and budget blocked scientists seeking permission to show worst case scenario models two weeks after the explosion. Photograph: Gerald Herbert/AP
The White House blocked government scientists from warning the American public of the potential environmental disaster caused by BP’s broken well in the Gulf of Mexico, a report released by the national commission investigating the oil spill said yesterday.
The report, produced by a panel appointed by Barack Obama to investigate the spill, said that about two weeks after the BP rig exploded scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) asked the White House for permission to release their models showing their worst case scenarios for the spill.
The White House office of management and budget, which is a traditional clearing house for decisions, turned down the request, the report said, quoting interviews with administration officials.
The report, one of four released today by the commission, provides the most compelling evidence to date of direct attempts by the White House to spin the BP oil spill disaster.
The White House disputed the commission’s findings. “Senior government officials were clear with the public what the worst-case flow rate could be,” the acting director of the OMB, Jeffrey Zients and the NOAA adminstrator, Jane Lubchenco, said in a statement.
The commission report does not explore why the White House sought to block the worst-case scenarios for the spill.