It’s not difficult to see how much the government’s lack of credibility has impacted Gulf residents, especially when it comes to cleanup issues. After all, if the feds lied about oil-flow rates and declared the “vast majority of oil is gone,” how can we trust them now? Where did the oil really go? Is the seafood safe? What are the long-term impacts of the spill on the ecosystem and human health?
Reporter Campbell Robertson at the New York Times has a story that illustrates the increasing burden of “lost credibility.” A resident with five decades of experience on Gulf waters reports: “enormous orange-brownish strings of something” drifting not far off the coast. She figures it’s oil, then the Coast Guard takes samples – and then an LSU scientist declares that it’s not oil. With credibility intact, this is a good thing. With lost credibility, the denial breeds even more suspicion and mistrust from Gulf residents who continue to report oil sightings on a daily basis.
This is the same Coast Guard that acted as a BP security force since Day One of the spill…the same Coast Guard that installed “safety zones” to keep photographers away from scenes of oil and has steadfastly toed the BP line. So, all the witness has to say is the Coast Guard took the samples in the wrong place, then all the credibility is with her and the sighting of a miles-long strand of weathered oil. We now live in a climate where the onus is on the U.S. Coast Guard to defend its findings. There was a time, not too long ago, when the Coast Guard had a much better reputation.
Hey, let’s remember that this is the same Coast Guard that rubber-stamped the use of the toxic dispersant, Corexit. When you squander your credibility, this is where you end up.
Read the NY Times story here: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/03/us/03spill.html?_r=1&ref=us
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