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PolitiFact Florida checks Sen. Bill Nelson's role wrangling oil spill data from BP

It's been a year and a half since oil suddenly gushed from the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig into the Gulf of Mexico. 

In the early days, rig operator BP estimated about 1,000 barrels a day might be escaping into the gulf. The true number? More like 50,000 to 60,000 barrels — or more than 2 million gallons — every day, for three months.

How did we learn it was so high?

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., says it wasn't until he and a Senate colleague were able to "wrangle the actual streaming video" from BP that scientists were able to calculate the flow.

Nelson spoke about the spill Oct. 11 on the Senate floor, where he urged his colleagues to find a way to fund gulf research. Was the senior senator from Florida responsible for lifting the veil on a disaster unfolding 5,000 feet underwater?

PolitiFact Florida checked it out.

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