BP has consistently and intentionally misled the public about the consequences of the Deepwater Horizon disaster, underestimating the rate at which oil has been spewing into the Gulf of Mexico and denying reporters access to areas fouled by oil. The Obama administration has done a good job so far of making information about the cleanup efforts publicly and readily available through the Joint Information Center of the Deepwater Horizon Unified Command and the White House response website, but more can be done to ensure transparency and openness as mitigation and recovery move forward.
The administration should synthesize all information connected to the blowout of BP’s Deepwater Horizon well in one publicly accessible, comprehensive, and reliable website. The website should include:
- Regular updates on the disaster response and cleanup
- Technical data, such as schematics, pressure tests, and spill monitoring
- Reports on water, soil, and air quality and wildlife oiled or killed
- Health issues and symptoms
- Information on public services and assistance and claims for spill victims
- A clear explanation of the recovery effort, including a long-term plan for revitalizing the Gulf Coast’s economies and ecosystems
Making this information publicly available will not only make sure BP can be held fully accountable for its negligence, but it will also help government officials make informed decisions and allow ordinary Americans to participate in the national recovery effort.
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