On Tuesday, July 13, the U.S. Coast Guard released photos of workers doing clean-up and relief work for the British Petroleum oil spill, yet something was a bit off about the pictures: the workers weren't wearing any protective gear, which means all of the photos could have been staged. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires workers to wear coveralls, rubber boots and sometimes gloves, concerns about heat stress led the agency to accept long pants and T-shirts for beach cleanup workers -- but rubber gloves and proper footwear are still required. Photographs of workers without protective gear could give people an impression that the spill situation must not be that bad and the situation on the ground must be getting better. Yet, this is 100-percent propaganda, for, as reported on Wednesday, July 14 on Amy Goodman's Democracy Now!, Coast Guard Commander Thad W. Allen said "Even if we contain the well and even if the well is capped in mid-August, there is still a significant amount of oil out there, and the oil recovery and the impacts of this oil will probably extend well into the fall in terms of oil coming to shore, tar balls, beach cleanup. And then we will be moving, of course, at that point with a natural resources damage assessment, trying to understand the long-term environmental and ecological impact of the event." In short, it might have been a nice attempt to portray the disaster scene as analogous to a mundane construction scene, but the reality on the ground is much more dire.
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