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News photographers and TV camera crews are claiming that they are being prevented from reporting on the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
They complain that US federal and local officials, including coast guards, are blocking access to beaches where the effects of the spill are most visible.
A CBS TV crew was threatened with arrest when attempting to film an oil-covered beach last week.
He defended flight restrictions as "a necessary safety precaution". Private aircraft must get perm
"BP is operating at our direction," Obama said. "Every key decision and action they take must be approved by us in advance," adding that, if the Coast Guard orders BP to do something, "they are legally bound to do it."
Three months before the massive BP oil spill erupted in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration proposed downsizing the Coast Guard national coordination center for oil spill responses, prompting its senior officers to warn that the agency's readiness for catastrophic events would be weakened.
Accidents happen, "but what you're seeing here is the government is not properly set up to deal with this kind of issue," said Robbin Laird, a defense consultant who has worked on Coast Guard issues. "The idea that you would even think about getting rid of catastrophic environmental spill equipment or expertise at the Department of Homeland Security, are you kidding me?"
"Cutting a strike team is nuts," said Stephen Flynn, a former Coast Guard commander and now president of the Center for National Policy, a Washington think tank. "Whether it's an accident of man or an act of terrorism, it requires almost the exact same skill set to clean it up."
In the minutes after a cascade of gas explosions crippled the Deepwater Horizon on April 20, confusion reigned on the drilling platform. Flames were spreading rapidly, power was out, and terrified workers were leaping into the dark
An examination by The Wall Street Journal of what happened aboard the Deepwater Horizon just before and after the explosions suggests the rig was unprepared for the kind of disaster that struck and was overwhelmed when it occurred. The events on the bridge raise questions about whether the rig's leaders were prepared for handling such a fast-moving emergency and for evacuating the rig—and, more broadly, whether the U.S. has sufficient safety rules for such complex drilling operations in very deep water.
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Originally posted by CanadianDream420
I support this!
We all know it's bad... Yes, it's THAT BAD!! We don't need hundreds of reporters floating around the beaches and asking questions when there is work to be done.
Originally posted by CanadianDream420
We don't need hundreds of reporters floating around the beaches and asking questions when there is work to be done.
Of course, anyone flipping on the cable networks or perusing online news sites has probably seen images from the spill. But Philips says many images "are coming from BP and government sources."
Philips' finding is not surprising given the anecdotal evidence of journalists who say they've been prevented from doing their work. Just in the last week, BP contractors stopped a CBS crew from filming and threatened arrests; CEO Tony Hayward was caught on tape yelling "Get outta there!" at a photographer snapping pictures; and Mother Jones reporter Mac McClelland said her efforts to reach Elmer's Island on the tip of Louisiana were thwarted after she was stopped more than once by Jefferson Parish sheriff's deputies.
With such access being cut off, Philips writes that journalist trying to cover "the worst environmental disaster in the history" of U.S. waters must do so "against the will of BP."