Transparency Could Save Lives


Every time BP low-balls spill estimates – which it has done with predictable regularity from the beginning of this disaster – we are reminded that the company simply can’t be trusted. Nowhere is this more important, or potentially damaging, than when it comes to human health.

The company has many, many air quality and other environmental test results that it has not made public. Why? The only reason is that they don’t want it seen, and they certainly don’t want qualified experts predicting what all this toxic soup means down the road.

If the government wants to take a strong stand on the side of the people of the Gulf, it might start by requiring 100 percent transparency on all environmental testing BP has on file – just put it up on the Internet and let smart people who know what it means have a look. Just like making spill video public led to much higher spill estimates, once the testing becomes public we will no doubt find that human health dangers are also being low-balled and downplayed.

As government officials race to determine if and when to close beaches to swimmers and sun-bathers, these kinds of test results become a critical part of making these difficult decisions.

© Smith Stag, LLC 2010 – All Rights Reserved

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Stuart H. Smith is an attorney based in New Orleans fighting major oil companies and other polluters.
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