Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of a House energy committee investigating the oil spill, slammed BP's response to the disaster in an appearance on "Face The Nation" Sunday morning. He suggested that the oil company has misled the public about the magnitude of the spill, and warned the public not to trust what the company is saying.
From the very beginning, Markey said, BP low-balled the size of the oil leak, saying publicly that it was 1,000 barrels per day when in fact they believed that it could be upwards of 14,000 barrels per day. And they did so, he charged, in order to insulate the company from potential liability. "BP has a stake in their own liability here," Markey said. "By that I mean the fine that can be imposed upon them is dependent upon how many barrels per day are going out into the Gulf. If it's 1,000, it's a relatively low fine. But if it's 10,000, 15,000 or 20,000 barrels per day, it could end up as billions of dollars in fines that the BP executives have to pay to the federal government. They had a stake in low-balling the number right from the very beginning, in terms of the amount of oil going out into the Gulf."
"So you think they lied?" asked CBS News political analyst John Dickerson, sitting in this week for host Bob Schieffer. "I think they were either lying or incompetent," Markey replied. "But either way, the consequences for the Gulf of Mexico are catastrophic."
"I have no confidence whatsoever in BP," Markey went on. "I do not think they know what they are doing. .. I do not think people should really believe anything BP is saying in terms of the likelihood of anything that they are doing is going to turn out as they predicted."
"Is this criminal activity, do you think?" Dickerson asked.
"I think that without question, if the word 'criminal' should be used in terms of an environmental crime against our country, then what's going on in the Gulf of Mexico is going to qualify, yes," Markey concluded.