Month 9, Day 22: And Tell It, Tell It, Tell It!

As promised.

Dear Director Lubchenco,

The environmentally concerned public is anxiously awaiting the release of your report on the damage done to the Gulf of Mexico by the disastrous wreck of British Petroleum’s Deepwater Horizon drilling project.

It is crucial that your report address the consistent spreading of misinformation on the part of BP and their allies in the industry. Lowballing of initial flow estimates; blocking the media from spill-affected areas; refusing to allow scientific specialists to conduct accurate measurements of flow from the gusher on the Gulf floor…the list goes on and on.

If we are to have a hope of trusting our government in a disaster of this magnitude, the report issued under your imprimatur must be absolutely truthful. The Gulf crisis was exacerbated by BP’s dissimulation, and it will be to the everlasting shame of our own government that the Administration accepted their estimates and assessments for so long. If it was obvious to any observant citizen that Tony Hayward and his spokespeople were lying through their teeth, why was our Coast Guard so trusting?

I recognize that your mandate is simply to provide an accurate scientific report on the consequences of the oil spill. But failing to address the toxic effects of corporate misinformation is to abdicate your responsibilities to the American people and to the health of the oceans you’ve devoted your life to studying. We cannot afford another Deepwater Horizon…and we cannot afford more lies, misdirection and dissimulation from the extractive industries who are responsible for so much of the world’s environmental degradation.

Thank you,

Warren Senders

Month 9, Day 21: Tell The Truth, Tell The Truth, Tell The Truth

The Times had an editorial about the eventual release of the NOAA report on the State of the Gulf. That triggered this reflection on the harm that BP’s toxic clouds of press-conference bullshit have done to our ability to figure out what the hell is going on. I think I’ll write Lubchenco tomorrow and tell her the same thing in more measured terms.

It is natural to hope that Director Lubchenco’s long-awaited report on the condition of the Gulf of Mexico gives us good news about the marine ecosystems that have been shattered by the unimaginable disaster on the Deepwater Horizon.   But whether the Gulf is recovering or not, the single most important thing Americans need to hear is that the time of denying and disguising inconvenient truths is over.   As the spill and its aftermath saturated the news, dribs and drabs of information drifted in, revealing disturbing glimpses of a systemic negligence at the highest corporate levels.  BP’s largely successful attempts to control the media’s reporting of the Gulf tragedy are a vivid example of the destruction of our informational environment by malign corporate entities seeking the maximization of profits rather than the common good.  If we are to repair our planet’s climate, we require unblinkingly accurate information, not corporate spin.

Warren Senders