BP Spill Estimate Grows—Again

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An independent estimate concluded this week that the BP spill dumped 4.4 million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The new study, published this week in Science, is the first peer-reviewed analysis of the total amount spilled over the nearly three months of the disaster. The scientists used high-resolution video of the leaking well to estimate the rate of the spill.

The estimate is slightly higher than the estimate from the government’s flow rate team, which concluded in August that 4.1 million barrels were spilled into the Gulf and another 800,0000 barrels was removed from the water.

The official government estimates of both the size of the spill and where the oil went have been the subject of some controversy, as much of the supporting documentation has not been made public and the estimates were not peer-reviewed. But since the new estimate of the spill size is fairly close to the government’s, it should lend some credence to the accounts from the federal government. 

Still, the latest estimate is 300,000 barrels—or 12.6 million gallons—higher than the previous. That’s a whole Exxon Valdez spill right there, bringing the Gulf spill to more than 17 times the size of the Alaska spill that previously ranked as the worst in US history.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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