One of the frustrations I’ve had in getting information about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill from the Unified Command’s official site is that the Coast Guard and Minerals Management Service seem particularly cozy with BP executives, and appear to be operating a public relations campaign more than an objective information resource, with the aim of promoting the idea that everything is going well with the oil spill response – that “progress” is being made. The photographs provided by the Unified Command show less and less of the oil slick itself, and more and more of people doing things to organize the response.
This morning, a good counterbalance to this Unified Command PR campaign was begun by SkyTruth. That organization has created Oil Spill Tracker, a site through which Gulf Coast residents themselves are able to post descriptions of what’s actually happening on the shoreline. These aren’t stories approved by press officers. They’re on-site observations from ordinary people.
One particularly sad observation comes from the Florida panhandle, where a person claims to have snapped this photograph of a large sea turtle that washed up on shore dead. I’ve checked on Tin Eye for similar images elsewhere, to see if this one might be a ripped off fake. It doesn’t appear to be.
The longer the oil slick is allowed to coat the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, combined with toxic dispersants, the more animals like this we’re going to see on Gulf beaches.
Add your own eyewitness observations of Gulf oil spill manifestations at the Oil Spill Tracker.