Of course Anderson Cooper’s live-from-the-Gulf nightly reporting has become a sort of “Nightline” of the BP oil spill, and the program’s “Keeping Them Honest” segment has been a leading source of both news and insight, even for those of us deeply immersed in the subject.
So it was a bit chilling this week as Cooper reported from Haiti about tons of food sitting idle in warehouses only miles from starving orphans and about agencies so mired in “process” that little was getting done to get help to those who need it most. Granted, Haiti is a third-world nation dealing with another sort of disaster, but the challenges over there should serve as a reminder to us that the real work is just about to begin in earnest in the Gulf…as we shift focus from stopping the gusher to putting all energy and resources into cleaning up the devastation.
Whether the current BP cap holds or not, or if the relief wells are days, weeks or months away, we all know a new and difficult phase of this disaster is just beginning. We are awash now in all the things that we don’t know … how much oil actually went into the Gulf, what the toxic chemicals used to break up the oil will do to the sea and to humans, and even how people will be fairly compensated for their losses.
It’s a long list of ignorance. And BP has at least been consistent and honest about one thing: It has no intention of being in any way transparent about its actions, especially when it might involve the health of workers cleaning up the oil. In the coming weeks, there’s no reason to think this will improve and there’s actually every reason to expect it will get worse. Eventually, how much we learn about toxins that impact every living thing on the Gulf will come down to how hard the government, especially Congress, really pushes for information.
The truth, as they say, is out there.