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Michele Van Almelo
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New Documents Produced could help determine BP's Liability

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There are new documents being produced by the Untied States that may give everyone a more clear picture of the Deepwater Horizon spill, and exactly how much oil was spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. BP requested these documents be handed over to the courts in proceedings recently, citing that the United States withheld information dealing with the the amount of oil that spilled.

The documents are said to contain information vital to determining initial calculations of flow rate in the spill. They provide reports that a group of scientists working for the U.S. estimated a rate much lower than the 4.9 million barrels that the government claimed in August, 2010. The relevance of these documents could prove BP less liable under the Clean Water Act, in which the penalties considered depend on the amount of barrels of oil discharged into the ocean.

The United States agreed to turn over the evidence, adding that they would like the process to continue moving at a rapid pace, and that they will assert privilege over certain documents. In the filing the government expresses that they "look forward to working with the court and BP to ensure that BP lives by the rule of its brief". The U.S. also said that they expect BP to be just as open with their own flow rate analysis.

There are about 13,000 documents being re-reviewed by the government expected to be complete by mid-May.