Statement by OMB Acting Director Jeffrey Zients and NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco

October 6, 2010

"NOAA produced a report at the request of the Unified Command to project the most likely movement of oil.  As part of its function to coordinate and review all interagency materials developed in response to the BP oil spill, OMB led a review of a preliminary report and provided comments to ensure the analysis reflected the best known information at the time and accurately reflected the limitation of the model and available information, including response actions. For example, the initial analysis did not include the fact that there was use of boom, skimming, burning, and/or other methods to contain and remove the oil and therefore ran the risk of not accurately reflecting response actions taken. NOAA incorporated the feedback, and the eventual report reflected this improved analysis which is available online: http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2010/20100702_longterm.html. The facts bear out that the federal response significantly mitigated the impact of the spill.

“As for the predictions about the spill flow rate, senior government officials were clear with the public what the worst-case flow rate could be: in early May, Secretary Salazar and Admiral Thad Allen told the American people that the worst case scenario could be more than 100,000 barrels a day. In addition, BP reported in 2009 that a blowout of the Deepwater Horizon (MC 252) could yield 162,000 barrels of oil a day (http://media.al.com/live/other/BP%20drill%20plan.pdf).

“Since the Deepwater Horizon explosion the night of April 20, federal authorities, both military and civilian, have been working on-site and around the clock to respond to and mitigate the impact of the resulting BP Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The federal government response was full force and immediate, and the response focused on state and local plans and evolved when needed.  As directed by the President, the response was based on science, even when that pitted us against BP or state and local officials, and the response pushed BP every step of the way. Finally, and most importantly, the response provided results for the people of the Gulf Coast.”

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