Gulf oil spill response ill-managed, presidential panel says
The Obama administration's response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill was marked by confusion over the spill rate and conflicts between agencies, according to government reporters reviewed by The Post's Steven Mufson:
"The federal government created the impression that it was either not fully competent to handle the spill or not fully candid with the American people about the scope of the problem," said one of the four working papers written by the staff of the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling.
The confusion of the spill rate was created from the outset. On April 23, the day after the Deepwater Horizon rig sank, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry told CBS News that "there is not oil emanating from the riser." But the riser, a pipe that connected the rig with the wellhead on the seafloor, had not even been inspected at that point.
Later, as the gravity of the spill became clearer, agencies differed over how much to tell the public. One of the commission papers said that the Office of Management and Budget denied a request by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to release "worst-case discharge figures" in late April or early May, weeks before the dire dimensions of the spill were publicly known.
| October 6, 2010; 2:05 PM ET
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