Obama admin. backs spill figures, releases e-mails

Ted Bridis
The Daily Caller
11/24/2010

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration on Wednesday defended the integrity of estimates that for months were inaccurate in showing how much oil spilled in the Gulf of Mexico, disclosing thousands of pages of internal e-mails written by government scientists on the project. “It is a guess,” a senior U.S. scientist acknowledged to his colleagues.

The behind-the-scenes e-mails hint at uncertainties in what the government knew during the summer, even as its scientists wrestled over how to measure oil leaking from a runaway well a mile beneath the water’s surface.

The government said this week that its final estimate of 172 million gallons of oil pouring into the ocean between April 20 and July 15 was accurate.

A senior scientist who led the federal effort, Bill Lehr of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, wrote in the e-mails that the administration went public with a summary of estimates before experts could finish their work.

“It’s easy to second guess in hindsight the wisdom of presenting the five-page summary … while we were still refining and improving its estimates,” he wrote. “I personally wish that the report had included the uncertainty that we know exists and is built into the calculator.”

Lehr said the work represented “our best guess,” adding: “Yes, it is a guess.”

The article continues at The Daily Caller.

H/T Instapundit: Thanksgiving Document Dump

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