Gulf Beaches: Public Health At Risk

Having just returned from an exhausting week on the gulf coast, I’m at once overwhelmed by all that I’ve experienced in the past week. I had the great pleasure of personally meeting great folks like Dr. Riki Ott, Philippe Cousteau, Jr., Robert Kennedy, Jr. as well as hard working locals fighting to save our waters like Casi Callaway and Tammy Harrington at Mobile Baykeeper. I worked with a deeply passionate film crew from L.A., Project Gulf Impact, spending their own time, money and resources to document and tell the real story of the tragedy on the gulf coast to the world. I am deeply touched by all of these encounters.

At the same time I am grieving a loss so great it has yet to be comprehended. Watching BP’s oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico feels like a loved one being raped and tortured to death as I watch, powerless to stop it. We are losing, in one summer, something so great that we may never fully realize it in our lifetimes. Continue reading

Current Air/Water Quality: Deciphering EPA “Data”

This morning EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson tweeted that EPA is monitoring air and water quality and even linked to the “data” EPA is making available:

EPA continues to monitor enviro quality in Gulf. For data:

Now, I’m no scientist, but I am a pretty smart lady, so I set about trying to interpret the “data” Lisa provided us. I enlisted the help of some other intelligent folks as well. After close to 45 minutes we still did not have a clear understanding of what the air or water quality was in any particular area, in relation to what the acceptable limits are for each chemical being tested.  This is not my idea of “transparency in reporting” from the EPA.  So let me take you through what I did learn. Continue reading