Washington, D.C.– Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva, who chairs the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands, sent letters yesterday to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the U.S. Geological Survey and the U.S. Coast Guard requesting information about the widely touted Obama Administration report from early August indicating that approximately 74 percent of the oil spilled in the Deepwater Horizon disaster was no longer an environmental threat. The report has since faced questions and criticism from many independent researchers, especially because NOAA officials admitted after the report was released that it was not peer reviewed prior to publication.
Grijalva’s letters, available at the oversight and investigations portion of his Web site, call on each agency to turn over research, draft spill estimates and other information about how the report was finalized and publicized. The letters point out that the three agencies, and others involved in oil spill response, have “a troubling history of premature assurances that the Horizon disaster was small and easily containable.”
“Because our legal system will assess financial responsibility for the spill in terms of the amount of oil released, the long-standing practice of severely underestimating the spill’s size concerns me greatly,” the letters say.
Grijalva said after sending the letters that requesting the information was not a matter of raising questions – which other researchers have already done – but of getting answers.
“Good work has already been done questioning the assumptions that went into this report,” Grijalva said. “Now is the time for Congress and the public to understand why the administration hastily pushed it out the door without assurances that its findings were accurate.”