Editorial: Media access to the gulf oil spill

Editorial – Media access to gulf oil spill – 7-20-2010

Last week BP finally capped the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, but only after somewhere between 93 and 184 million gallons of crude oil polluted our coastline, depending on whose estimate you believe.  BP has grossly underestimated the flow of oil since day one of this disaster.

Three weeks ago, the federal government's oil response director, Thad Allen, put severe restrictions on media coverage.  His rule kept reporters and news photographers at least 65 feet away from boom, too far away to show the shocking reality of the damage.

Now, that policy has been reversed.  Last week Allen announced that media with proper credentials will have unfettered access to this event.  That access should never have been denied.

If there is a silver lining at all to this fiasco, it may be the intense media coverage that has been showing the nation, and the world, the importance of protecting our gulf coastline.

All citizens have the right to know how their property, their livelihoods, and their very lives are being affected by events such as this.  Let's hope that after more than 90 days, the federal government and BP have learned that they won't fix this problem by trying to hide it.