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article imageOp-Ed: Questions remaining with Gulf oil spill Special

By Carol Forsloff     May 25, 2010 in World
I live in Louisiana, so I am biased. I'm a tree-hugger, so I am biased. I voted for Obama, and I suppose for some that makes me biased too. I am biased in believing no one knew at the outset how bad the spill was and no one knows now how to stop it.
But one thing I know is that bias isn't important now. Nor are enmities, gossip and the things that get in the way of what needs to be told. It's the message, not the messenger, for me.
What that is now are the problems of the Gulf. Are there other important stories? Certainly. Better writers? Likely. Those who could do better telling the story of the Gulf, were they here like me? I would think so too. But I am here and have spent more than 60 hours just in press conferences, not including separate phone calls and interactions with friends and acquaintances across the state.
I have worked alone, except with one solitary investigative reporter in Canada who shapes and shakes me up from time to time. I don't read the newspapers as much as original sources, science reports, government reports and have conversations with those involved in this horrific situation.
I recognize the value of citizen journalism, especially now, for much value came from bloggers at the coast, who cried long and loudly, before the mainstream press that we are headed for the rocks.
By we, I mean the world, because what happens with something this large can be catastrophic for everyone. It will be economic because of the shipping. It will be economic because of the energy source. It will be environmental because of the interplay of air and water. It will impact us all.
I also respect those people who evidence their care. Like a Canadian editor of a citizen journal and others who say so. But that is less of consequence now.
For those who care, and even for those who don't, this is my summary and opinions today, from hours of work and contemplation, as well as that research, in another hurried moment, as I reach for that objective news that might make a difference in someone's life somewhere and post it here, or there. or only for just me to read, in some consoling way.
On April 24 and in subsequent days to May 1, Admiral Mary Landry, representing the government through the Coast Guard, said, "This was a serious issue." She was asked specifically if she thought it a catastrophe. She said emphatically she wouldn't say that and implied it would be an exaggeration to do so.
Did the government from the beginning consider this a catastrophe? Not from those words and others from NOAA as well, as well as department representatives who visited the coast. during the press conferences where congratulations were made every day, every day the same repetitions.
It was only last week, early on, during a press conference Admiral Mary Landry of the Unified Command and Doug Suttles of BP were like an old song-and-dance team straight from the movies, I thought in my quiet reflections. A singing, dancing duo; I never knew who played the tune. The song was, however, --no worry. We are doing our best, just you wait.. We have what we need; we'll do fine.
Here are words from the song sung last week, "We are successful right now because not much oil is reaching shore. We have used every tool we have to stop the spill from booms, controlled burning and skimming. These tools have been working. We thank the communities who have supported us and believe we are moving ahead."
A contract workers from Health  Safety  and Environment (HSE) load oily waste onto a trailer on Elme...
A contract workers from Health, Safety, and Environment (HSE) load oily waste onto a trailer on Elmer's Island, just west of Grand Isle, La.
U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kelley
The oil continues to spill into the Gulf. The numbers quoted have changed from 1000 to 5000 barrels to now, "We are getting an independent team to help us determine it," which was Monday's tune.
I sit in a line of reporters waiting to ask the question, "If you were always planning for the worst case scenario, why is the oil spilling into the Gulf?"
Or the question, "Why are the only media you call upon to ask questions you answer, or seem to, are those some of you know by name, greet with familiarity and poise, who ask the basic questions of how, and what, but never when and why.
Each meeting and written announcement comes with the explanation this is" an exceptional event, unprecedented in its development" and one that was "unexpected."
Was this not something said after other awful times? "We didn't know because this is unprecedented" and still "We feel your pain."
Do you? Do you, folks, really? That's the question I really must ask, for I hear it from friends, from my dreams.
Don't you too?
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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