A lot of people argue that the U.S. Government is lying or covering up the severity of the oil spill. Whenever a disaster or epidemic occurs, it seams like, there are always attacks on how the government handles the situation and what they say about it. If our government is deeply in bed with the oil companies, as is possibly very much the case, then it would behove them to downplay the crisis so that we forget all about the dangers of oil drilling. Or even more so, question our dependency on an outdated, socially and environmentally destructive resource and jeopardize the fortunes of top government officials and oil CEO’s.
However, it’s important to not get stuck on blaming people in possition for disasters like this one. Mistakes happen, and as hard as it is sometimes, it’s important to not crucify our government or BP for that matter. It is a wake up call, however, to question our own actions that lead to issues like this; Our over-consumtion of matterial things, leads to the environmental degredation we constantly complain about; Our love for fast food has caused cattle to be raised in densly-packed, unsanitary conditions- leading to the Mad Cow outbreak; The number of children we decide to have, creates that many more long-term consumers of energy and resources; And furthermore, the demand for oil puts pressure on oil companies to drill in increasingly dangerous areas, including foriegn countries (e.i. Iraq) that may not always see eye-to-eye with our ways of doing business. Should we blame the government for these things? It’s up to you to answer that one…
The government has definitely suppressed details about the disaster that make them look bad. It is easier for them to point fingers at BP than to acknowledge what they did wrong as well. For instance, the Mineral Management Service who were responsible for monitoring oil drilling operations regularly received gifts such as sports tickets from the oil companies. The Mineral Management Service also gave BP and numerous other drilling companies the green light to drill before they gained the required permits including one assessing dangers to fish by the Endangered Species Act. So yes, the government has definitely suppressed their hand in the oil spill.
I think that for a disaster of this magnitude, there are always generalizations that are too widely accepted. I do not think that the government has been totally honest with the people, but I think that that has not hurt us in too many ways. Our focus should be making sure that this does not happen again, and not to be pointing fingers.
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