BP is playing a dangerous game here. At the end of the day, whether the true environmental impact is relativley mild or severe, it might not matter. This spill is happening at a time of intensifying negative mood. The "herding" or "wolfpack" mentality shown by large groups and modeled by socionomics tells us that scapegoats will be designated and BP is doing their best to beg for the job.
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By God I am an American and to hear an officer of the United States Coast Guard utter the words "these are BP's rules, not ours" when discussing a tragedy that has occured in U.S. territorial waters is stunning. And enraging.
The information ops being run by BP have been to obfuscate and wall off independent experts - the exact opposite of what they should be doing. The blowback could be devastating.