Florida lawmaker seeks any additional video of oil leak
May 14, 2010
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Spurred by but a snippet of video BP released this week showing oil spewing from a broken pipe 5,000 feet underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) today asked the oil giant to bring “any and all” additional video the company may have when its president testifies in this city next Tuesday.
“The United States government and American people have a right to know what is going on at the Deepwater Horizon well,” Nelson wrote today in a letter to Lamar McKay, the chairman and president of BP America.
Since the April 20 blowout of the Deepwater rig and growing oil spill, news media, scientists and others have called on BP to make public any video of the leak. The company complied this week by releasing two very short video clips. Immediately, some began questioning whether the leak wasn’t far worse than previously thought.
For instance, Steven Wereley, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue University, analyzed videotape of the seafloor gusher for National Public Radio. Using a technique called particle image velocimetry, Wereley came up with a rate for the oil spill of 70,000 barrels a day — much higher than the official estimate of 5,000 barrels a day.
Such information “is crucial to our … preparing for the impacts the spill may have on our environment, fisheries and coastal communities,” Nelson, a member of the Senate Commerce Committee, wrote in his letter to McKay. “I am requesting you bring any and all additional video footage of the Deepwater Horizon wellhead and broken pipe to the Senate Commerce Committee hearing on Tuesday, May 18.”
For years Nelson has been an outspoken critic of the oil industry’s safety claims and lax federal regulation, as the industry has pressed to be able to drill off the coast of Florida.