Oil company, law enforcement block media access to public sites hit by Michigan oil spill.

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"Oil company, law enforcement block media access to public sites hit by Michigan oil spill."

oilbirdAs Yogi Berra said, it’s d©j  vu all over again.  BP worked hard to keep journalists away from their disaster (see ” The pictures BP doesn’t want you to see“).

Now, in the wake of its own oil spill, Enbridge is apparently learning from the best, which is to say the worst, TP reports:

Since Enbridge Inc.’s disastrous pipeline leak gushed 1 million gallons of oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River last week, reports suggest that Enbridge officials and law enforcement are blocking the media from public spill sites. The Michigan Messenger reports that yesterday evening, its journalists were denied access “” again “” “to a key oil spill site after attempting to record video of the Kalamazoo River.” A wildlife group is also reporting similar findings from its volunteers. The Michigan Messenger’s Todd Heywood elaborates:

However, when Messenger arrived at the site a security officer working for Enbridge approached and said no media was allowed. Messenger requested to speak to the Calhoun County Deputy Sheriff who was at the site. That deputy cleared Messenger’s request with an official from Enbridge, but they would only allow the filming of 30 seconds of video. During the time Messenger was waiting to speak to the deputy, a citizen video crew approached, and was turned back by the security officer.

These reports mirror similar problems involving BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Although BP COO Doug Suttles called such reports “untrue,” numerous media reports documented BP’s efforts to block journalists from covering the oil spill and speaking with clean-up workers.

Nina Bhattacharya

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14 Responses to Oil company, law enforcement block media access to public sites hit by Michigan oil spill.

  1. Jeraldo Smith says:

    So funny. Gotta keep people away from contaminated sites. EPA rules also. This is transparency. The stupid camera people don”t have hazmat papers. They need to obey the law.

  2. Lore says:

    Heaven forbid the public should be exposed to the truth.

    In the immortal words by that great American actor, Charleton Heston in “Planet of the Apes”; George Taylor: You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!

  3. Prokaryotes says:

    Nelson: Regulate Oil Spill Dispersants
    Bill Nelson is introducing a bill in the U.S. Senate that would set strict guidelines on the use of dispersants in any future oil spill. His “Safe Dispersant Act” would regulate which – and how much – of the chemicals could be used.

    “EPA is allowing the oil industry and the dispersant industry to do their own safety checks,” says Nelson. “This is like the fox guarding the henhouse, and this has got to change. http://www.wusf.usf.edu/news/2010/08/02/nelson_regulate_oil_spill_dispersants

  4. Prokaryotes says:

    In Fuel Subsidies, It’s No Contest

    a new Bloomberg study that finds that fossil fuels receive government subsidies that are roughly 12 times those given to renewable energy sources. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/08/02/in-fuel-subsidies-its-no-contest

  5. Prokaryotes says:

    Scientists trace where sea life is … and isn’t
    Even before oil spill, Gulf of Mexico rated among most diverse and threatened marine habitats, Census of Marine Life reports http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38525412/ns/technology_and_science-science/

  6. homunq says:

    “Jeraldo” #1: That would make sense, if they were asking for people’s hazmat papers.

    (Sorry if that’s your real name, but Geraldo is the normal Spanish spelling, so I’m suspicious.)

  7. Prokaryotes says:

    Hay not dispersant, is very effective to clean up oil spills.

    http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2010/07/29/dalian-oil-spill-is-all-cleaned-up/

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Leaked Oil: Feds Dramatically Increase Oil Spill Estimate, Making BP’s The Worst Oil Accident In History http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/02/feds-dramatically-increas_n_668149.html

  9. Mark Shapiro says:

    I used to think that governments were powerful. And indeed they are.

    But here we have the second case in three months of an oil company simply telling law enforcement to do its bidding.

    This is sick and wrong. I would think that the press would actually make more than just a passing reference to private companies getting law enforcement to gang up on the press, but they are just rolling over.

    Where is the tea party calling for freedom when you need it?

  10. catman306 says:

    Prokaryote,
    But then the oil companies wouldn’t be buying the dispersant from themselves or their friends. They’ll be spending money with hay farmers, small operations, no one that a big oil company wants to talk to with money in their outstretched hands.

  11. Anne says:

    This is SO easy to fix. The US EPA or any state environmental agency could easily train journalists and reporters to use self-protective measures when approaching hazardous materials. There could even be government-subsidized distribution of haz-mat suits, masks, gloves, boots, and other equipment to protect reporters while they go about their JOBS of reporting. I do think journalists need to use caution when operating near toxics and hazardous materials, and should have the requisite information and training. But to use a lack of preparedness as an excuse to ban them from potentially hazardous conditions is dishonest, disingenuous, secretive, and violates basic first amendment rights. When are we all going to start acting like grown-ups?

  12. Chris Winter says:

    All very correct, Anne. But see, if those people wearing protective gear showed up on the nightly news, BP and Enbridge would look bad — like they were spreading dangerous substances all over the countryside. And we can’t have that, can we?

    /sarcasm

  13. Leif says:

    This year alone oil companies will be spending billions upon billions of dollars cleaning and mitigating oil spills here and should be spending billions more the world over doing the same. It is important to note that those billions of dollars are removed from the pockets of each of us consumers of their products and the effort is no more valuable to humanity than spending on a war. That spending does help the GDP but we are left with killing fields none the less. Just think how much preemptive good those same billions could have done invested in the well being of humanity. Public transportation, education, infrastructure improvement, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and more. Humanitarian positives all, instead we get dead people, ecosystems, Gulf, Rivers and wild life, ruined lives and economic instability. What a deal.