BP’s Math Problem

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BP has been telling the world that only 5,000 barrels of oil are leaking out of its well in the bottom of the Gulf each day, despite the fact that outside experts believe the correct figure is probably more like 95,000 barrels. BP also says that the pipe inserted into the well to siphon oil to the surface is drawing about a fifth of the oil. As of their last announcement, that was about 1,000 barrels of oil per day.

But now BP says that actually it’s siphoning 5,000 barrels per day—in other words, the total amount of oil the company says is spilling into the sea. But the live-feed of the spill site that was made available today clearly shows a whole lot of oil leaking into the Gulf.

So does that mean BP is acknowledging that the spill rate is much, much higher? Are they admitting that they’ve been lying to us for the past month about how bad the spill actually is? Or is BP just bad at math?

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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