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Commentary: Scope of Gulf oil spill is being hidden from public

In addition to the oil plume that continues to pollute our Gulf Coast, a disturbing trend is growing around the disaster: Information and access is being denied to those seeking to study the situation.

BP officials claim that the examples where media or researchers have been denied access are only a trickle. But more instances keep surfacing.

A plane flying a newspaper photographer is denied access to the airspace above oil slicks. Scientists wait three weeks for images to study the gushing oil. A Florida senator is told he can’t take reporters along on a gulf tour. A television crew is threatened with arrest for trying to film a damaged public beach.

The access and information have been denied by BP officials, or U.S. officials, or, most disturbingly, U.S. officials after consultation with BP officials.

When confronted with such stories, officials tut-tut and say such problems will be fixed. Yet complaints mount.

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