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There's been a lot of physical and digital ink spilled over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, but the truth of the situation leaves more questions than answers.

Not long after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank, it was reported that a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) found no oil leaking from the site. Soon thereafter, that "no-spill" turned into a 1,000 barrels a day, and then 5,000. Although that's the number BP is currently sticking to, others are estimating approximately 20,000 barrels – or more – are being spilled into the Gulf each day. Thirty days of that lower estimate would be 25,200,000 gallons – enough to make the world's stomachs turn.

As previously mentioned, the media hasn't delved deep into the issue of the dispersants being used (Corexit 9500A and 9527A) to dilute the oil. Sure, we hear about hundreds of thousands of gallons of the stuff being pumped into the oil stream but we don't hear about what's in it or why it's banned in the UK. It's more than a little troubling that chemical manufacturer won't release a list of ingredients, and when the company is asked if it's safe, it only says its active ingredient is "an emulsifier also found in ice cream," with no mention of the 2-Butoxyethanol, propylene glycol and sulfonic acid salt it's known to contain.

The mind reels at the statements coming from BP's Tony Hayward. Untold millions of gallons of oil and unknown chemicals sitting next to the loop current could cause the pollutants to head into the Atlantic Ocean. Hayward's flippant response: "The Gulf of Mexico is a very big ocean. The amount of oil and dispersant we are putting into it is tiny in relation to the total water volume.'' Really? Perhaps it would be best for him to just talk about how BP will pay for everything and leave the environmental assessments to the experts.

As bad as we know things are, is it possible there's a coordinated effort to downplay the situation? Besides the low-balled leakage estimates and modest environmental estimations, we've got this: Make the jump to watch video of CBS reporters being refused access to an oiled beach by U.S. Coast Guards who are apparently taking their orders from BP.

Update: Added fresh video from racer/environmentalist Leilani Munter who has visited the area shares her feelings about the disaster, its impact and how it's being portrayed by some.

[Source: Pro Publica, Yahoo via Leilani Munter]

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