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According to the Times-Picayune's David Hammer, Anglo-Suisse has filed three incident reports with the Coast Guard since last Friday. In those documents, Hammer reports, the company explained that as it used a remotely operated submarine to plug the well, some oil had been discharged into the Gulf.
However, the company claimed in those reports that it had spilled less than five gallons of crude -- an amount far too small to account for the scope of the spill shown in aerial photographs. Nor would five gallons of crude square with reports of oil washing up over a 30 mile stretch of Louisiana's shoreline.
The confusion surrounding this latest Gulf spill points up a fatal flaw of America's oil pollution reporting system, which operates via a virtual honor code. Under present reporting protocols, polluters are tasked with the responsibility of turning themselves in when they're responsible for an accident -- knowing all the while that a federal inspector will probably never be dispatched to investigate.