Lawmakers hit BP: 'Live video doesn't lie'

By Steve Hargreaves, Senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- After days of badgering from lawmakers seeking greater access to video footage of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, BP Thursday made a live camera available for the public to view the disaster site 5,000 feet below water.

The camera is moved periodically. Some of the shots show oil gushing from pipes or the above the well head.

The new video has drawn scrutiny on BP's claim of how many barrels of oil were leaking out daily.

Lawmakers seized the opportunity to criticize the company, accusing it of purposely misleading the public.

"I think now we are beginning to understand that we cannot trust BP," said Ed Markey, D-Mass., one of the lawmakers that led the charge for more footage. "Now the decisions will have to be made by others because it is clear that they have been hiding the actual consequences of this spill."

Senator Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., highlighted the seemingly large amount of oil that was still leaking into the water despite BP's efforts to channel it to the surface via a makeshift pipe.

"It's a fraction of the oil that's being siphoned off," said Boxer. "which tells you there is a much greater volume than BP said."

Senator Bill Nelson, D-Fla., added, "I'm not sure that we have had the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth out here. And each step it was like pulling teeth to get the video released. But you know, Mr. President, live video pictures don't lie."

Late Thursday, the White House ordered BP to release "any data and other information" related to the spill.

BP said that it has been sharing all information it has with the other organizations responding to the spill, which include the Coast Guard and various other government agencies.

"We've been working with unified command all along," said a BP spokesman. "We're trying to produce the information as we get the requests."

The company has been criticized for both being slow to release video of the spill and for their estimates as to how much oil is leaking.

BP (BP) first released video of the leaking oil May 12, only after prodding from lawmakers and 22 days after the Deepwater Horizon drill rig caught fire. The rig sank two days later, claiming 11 lives and leaving an uncapped oil well gushing into the Gulf.

BP and the Coast Guard say the well is partially closed, and is leaking just 210,000 gallons of oil a day.

But other scientists have said it could be much higher, perhaps ten times that amount, and have complained that BP is not giving them access to the disaster site or related data.  To top of page

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