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White House: We didn't withhold oil spill info

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House is pushing back against accusations that the administration blocked government scientists from telling the public just how bad the BP oil spill could become.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs says the White House never tried to withhold “the most accurate and timely information” on the amount of oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico as soon as it became available.

Documents released Wednesday by the staff of the national oil spill commission said the Obama administration kept scientists from being frank with the public and committed other missteps during the crisis.

President Barack Obama created the commission to investigate the BP spill.

Specifically, the commission revealed that in late April or early May the White House budget office denied a request from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to make public the worst-case discharge from the blown-out well.

BP estimated the worse scenario to be a leak of 2.5 million gallons per day. The government, meanwhile, was telling the public the well was releasing 210,000 gallons per day — a figure that later grew closer to BP’s figure.

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