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Scientists question U.S. spill response

May 19, 2010 at 11:48 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, May 19 (UPI) -- Some U.S. oceanographers Wednesday questioned the administration's handling of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, with one scientist calling the response "baffling."

During testimony on Capitol Hill, the oceanographers said the federal government has conducted an inadequate scientific examination of damage from the April 20 Deepwater Horizon disaster and permitted oil giant BP to keep the dimensions of the spill from the public, The New York Times reported.

Oceanographer Sylvia Earle, a former chief scientist for the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, said it was "baffling that we don't know how much oil is being spilled."

"It seems baffling that we don't know where the oil is in the water column," Earle said.

The scientists said the federal government has not released results of any tests on deep ocean water and has not done enough to arrive at an accurate calculation of the amount of oil spewing into the gulf.

NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco said the administration is taking steps to get more information about the spill and the underwater oil plumes, the Times reported.

"We're in the early stages of doing that, and we do not have a comprehensive understanding as of yet of where that oil is," Lubchenco said. "But we are devoting all possible resources to understanding where the oil is and what its impact might be."

Environmental Protection Administration head Lisa Jackson told Congress she is working on getting test results released, the newspaper said.

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