BP misled the public on the volume of crude spewing from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead into the Gulf of Mexico. They wanted people to believe that it would be capped quickly–knowing that success rate of their initial attempts were extremely low.
When the government released its own estimate in late May 2010 of up to 25,000 barrels per day, the White House knew that the actual volume could be more than twice that, according to Mother Jones.
Its investigative reports have an email released by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) that traces efforts to downplay the spill size in the initial weeks back to the White House. The group released a May 29, 2010 email from Dr. Marcia McNutt, the director of the US Geologic Survey and head of the government’s Flow Rate Technical Group (FRTG), that was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. The email came after scientists on the flow-rate team complained to McNutt about how the spill figures were conveyed to the press, and in response she cited pressure from the White House as the reason the numbers were low-balled.