Failure and the Gulf Spill

Is BP blowing the Gulf oil spill challenge? And, is there a cover up? We ask the questions.

A young heron sits dying amidst oil splattering underneath mangrove on an island impacted by oil from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in Barataria Bay, just inside the the coast of Lousiana, Sunday, May 23, 2010. (AP)

The gusher of uncontrolled oil goes on and on at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. So does the battle over what we know, and how we understand what’s happened. 

At the very beginning, seven weeks ago, oil giant BP called the spill minor – and kept the sea floor video to itself. 

Now BP’s chief is calling the environmental impact “very, very modest,” while Louisianans watch their shoreline go under. 

Some in Washington cry “cover-up, but Washington is in for criticism now, too. 

This Hour, On Point: the Gulf oil spill challenge, Day 34.


Andrew Revkin, writer of the “Dot Earth” blog for the New York Times, where he’s reported on the environment for almost fifteen years. He’s also a senior fellow at Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies.

Sylvia Earle, renowned oceanographer, author and lecturer. She’s current Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and the founder of Mission Blue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to ocean exploration, research, and conservation. She’s the former chief scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Steve Werely, fluid dynamics expert and professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University. His analysis of BP’s early video footage of the leak suggested a much higher flow rate than official estimates; BP has since conceded the leak is bigger than it previously stated. Read Werely’s New York Times op-ed, “The Measure of a Disaster.”

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