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After 3 Weeks, BP Handed Over Samples Requested By Scientists

After first refusing, BP finally provided researchers at the University of South Florida with oil samples from the Gulf of Mexico. But the company came through only after getting pressure from lawmakers.

Last week, we noted that government scientists had concluded that the deepwater plumes of dispersed oil found in the Gulf of Mexico had originated from BP's ruptured well.

We also noted, however, that BP had previously refused to provide oil samples to scientists who needed them to perform chemical "fingerprinting" tests that would more clearly establish origin--and as of last week, we weren't sure if those scientists had received the samples yet.

Apparently, they hadn't until last Friday.

In all, it took three weeks and criticism from several Florida lawmakers before the company finally handed over oil samples to scientists from the University of South Florida, reported the St. Petersburg Times.

When Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., met with BP vice president David Nagel and spokesman Ray Dempsey, the two explained that the situation with the samples must've been miscommunicated, and that they would make sure a sample got to USF, the Times reported on June 9.

The scientists received the samples on June 25. According to Rep. Castor, that's "entirely too long."

We called BP last week to ask about these crude samples. Spokesman Bryan Ferguson told me he didn't know anything about the request for samples from the University of South Florida scientists.

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