Just How Much Did the Feds Screw Up Gulf Spill Estimates?

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The four draft staff reports that the National Commission on the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and Offshore Drilling released yesterday had quite a bit to say about the Obama administration’s botched handling of the BP oil spill. You can see the reports on the spill size and dispersant use for more.

But sometimes, an image really does tell you a lot about the story. That is certainly the case with this graph documenting the flow rate estimates from the government and outside experts over the course of the disaster. The blue lines represent the official government estimates and the green lines show how much independent experts said was spewing from the Gulf well every day.

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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