After the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry issued a technical publication. How many of these "lessons learned" have actually been incorporated into the current response to the Gulf oil spill?
Despite concerns of many fishermen across the region, fishing grounds are being opened up and beaches have been cleared for swimming. Local fishermen are incensed that officials have opened these grounds regardless of warnings, declaring them safe.
Given the large area that was impacted by oil and the variety of state and federal jurisdictions governing the re-opening of oil-affected areas, the FDA should be playing a strong role in ensuring the protection of public health across the Gulf Coast.
As I sat in a boat in the Gulf, surrounded on all sides by oil-tainted seas, the shear scale of the underwater oil leak hit me. At first I was heartbroken, but then I got mad. How could we have allowed this to happen?
This disaster is a tragic reminder that offshore drilling is dirty and dangerous. It leaves no doubt that we need tighter regulation of where and how oil companies drill. But it would be an historic mistake if our response ends there.