News networks say access to oil spill "slowly being strangled off"
NEW ORLEANS - Media organizations say they are being allowed only limited access to areas impacted by the Gulf oil spill through restrictions on plane and boat traffic that are making it difficult to document the worst spill in U.S. history.Reporters are being threatened with arrest, though the Coast Guard and other authorities deny this, saying that they're just trying to protect the areas:
The Associated Press, CBS and others have reported coverage problems because of the restrictions, which officials say are needed to protect wildlife and ensure safe air traffic.
CBS news story said one of its reporting teams was threatened with arrest by the Coast Guard and turned back from an oiled beach at the mouth of the Mississippi River. The story said the reporters were told the denial was under "BP's rules."It's been clear since the beginning of this disaster that BP has been allowed to act as an official and governmental authority unto itself. For example:
Chief Warrant Officer Adam Wine said White House officials had to sign off on requests for tours of the spill zone before they could proceed. (italics mine) The Coast Guard is attempting to increase access through guided boat and aircraft tours, he said. Still, there is no plan to lift restrictions on flights or boat traffic into offshore areas — including some barrier islands.