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The Gulf Disaster Will Keep Destroying Lives For Years to Come -- Is There Anything We Can Do About It?

The gulf spill presents physical and mental threats to those nearby and across the country. Too bad there's no sound science to prove BP's responsible.

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Or, as Obama puts it, a continuing success. Last Sunday, in a speech commemorating the five-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, he told an audience at Xavier University, “just as we've sought to ensure that we are doing what it takes to recover from Katrina, my administration has worked hard to match our efforts on the spill to what you need on the ground.”

After an eruption of applause from students, pastors and politicians, he added: “we will continue to rely on sound science, carefully monitoring waters and coastlines as well as the health of the people along the Gulf, to deal with any long-term effects of the oil spill.”

What he didn’t say is that’s really all the administration can do: witness a disaster, then hope it’s not too late to address it. Indeed, 21 years after Exxon/Valdez, it’s still seemingly the only method for countering an oil giant’s abuses: wait for something to bubble up, then go about sluicing through the mess.

Byard Duncan is a contributing writer and editor for AlterNet and a staff writer at Campus Progress.