"A federal official on Wednesday defended a recent report in which government scientists said that only about a quarter of the oil that gushed from BP’s ruptured Gulf of Mexico well was still in the water.
"Two new scientific reports on Tuesday raised fresh fears about the environmental fallout from the world's worst offshore oil spill and questioned government assurances that most of the oil from the ruptured well in the Gulf of Mexico was already gone.
"Researchers at the University of Georgia said Monday that more than three-quarters of the oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon drilling-rig explosion could still be in the Gulf threatening fisheries and marine life, disputing government statements that much of the oil had been safely dispersed.
Federal officials from the Coast Guard and NOAA now confirm what Gulf researchers have charged -- that they tried to squelch initial reports of massive underwater oil plumes emanating from the blown out Deepwater Horizon well.
"The Obama administration on Wednesday delivered an upbeat verdict on the fate of the estimated 4.9 million barrels of oil that spewed out of BP's blown out well in the Gulf of Mexico, saying that most of it has either been dispersed, burned off, skimmed up, directly recaptured through containment efforts, evaporated or dissolved.
Twittterer @WestWingReport says that White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs' 1 pm ET press briefing will include Gulf spill incident commander Thad Allen and Energy czarina Carol Browner. It's a good guess they will discuss the static kill and the NOAA report on vanishing oil.Transcripts of briefings are posted promptly here.
"The government is expected to announce on Wednesday that three-quarters of the oil from the Deepwater Horizon leak has already evaporated, dispersed, been captured or otherwise eliminated — and that much of the rest is so diluted that it does not seem to pose much additional risk of harm.
"NEW ORLEANS — The BP spill is by far the world's largest accidental release of oil into marine waters, according to the most precise estimates yet of the well's flow rate, announced by federal scientists on Monday. "