We know that BP has consistently low-balled the figure, trying for days to convince us that just 1,000 barrels of oil was coming from the well before they finally acknowledged a revised (and now known to be far too low) 5,000 barrel initial government estimate. It looks like the oil giant might still be trying to avoid acknowledging that the spill was far worse than BP led us to believe.
Rep. Ed Markey has been dogging this issue. In a letter to the company on August 11, he asked 'whether BP will accept this more definitive' estimate from the flow rate technical group (FRTG) 'as the basis for its per barrel spill liability and for other legal purposes.' Basically, he wants BP to say that it won't challenge this figure in court, a figure that will be crucial to determining things like how much money BP owes for Clean Water Act violations and for the damages to natural resources."
Kate Sheppard reports for Mother Jones August 25, 2010.