A recent investigation by Greenpeace has revealed that there were some documents pertaining to the study of the BP oil spill that were suppressed. Pictures of whales covered in oil in the Gulf of Mexico along with a report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about the potential impact of the oil on whales were both stopped from reaching public distribution. The thing that makes this even more deplorable is the fact that it was the U.S. government that suppressed the information.
According to the reports, NOAA issued a press release concerning a dead whale covered in oil, along with a picture of that whale. When they tried to release this information, the government told them to stop, prevented crew members from discussing any of it with the public and edited reports that had already gone through to make them appear as if the oil spill’s impact was less than it truly was.
What makes it really fishy (no pun intended) is the fact that this information was being released during the BP trial and, should it have been brought to light, BP would have most likely had to pay a lot more in damages than they did. Normally, the information in the report would have been headline news, considering the public outcry over the spill. Now, it’s just a footnote that few people will ever even know about.
If whales are being killed because of BP’s incompetence, why would the government side with them and undermine their own conservation and science agencies? Aren’t we supposed to be able to rely on our politicians to protect these creatures and our citizens from the effects of such disasters as oil spills? How many of our elected leaders were trying to protect their profits when they used their power of office to keep the truth from people?
Officials complain about heavy-handed activist groups such as Sea Shepherd and the tactics they use, but if we can’t trust our own government to handle the problem within the boundaries of the law, perhaps we have no one else to turn to. Until the government takes the job of protecting whales seriously, this species will continue to be under serious threat.