The Missing Truth In The BP Oil Disaster

By Kerry Kennedy.  Crossposted from The Huffington Post

More than a year after a private company operating in public waters retched 170   million gallons of crude and 2 million gallons of toxic dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico creating an environmental catastrophe, we still lack reliable statistics on the BP oil disaster's impact on the health of residents.

I recently spent several days traveling across the Gulf Coast region of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, speaking with fishermen, oystermen, shrimpers, restaurant workers, and neighbors about the illnesses they have suffered in the wake of this calamity.

I couldn't help but think of the trip that my father, Robert Kennedy, made to the Mississippi Delta in 1967. That trip transformed him. He was horrified by the poverty, the children whose bellies were "swollen with hunger"; he believed we had a duty, as a nation, to relieve their suffering and soothe their pain. He returned to Washington determined to extend food stamps to the poorest Americans, despite a cash-strapped administration and an unyielding Congress. Today, the children and grandchildren of those very same families continue to suffer from systemic governmental neglect, the debilitating heritage of communities -- African-American, Vietnamese, Laotian, Native American, and poor white -- marginalized by skin color, religion, education level, income, or access to power. It is long past time for federal action.  Read more...


Photo of Kerry Kennedy by Eric Silva