Responding to wide criticism, the Coast Guard changed rules that had excluded news media from a 65-foot zone around oil booms in Gulf cleanup operations.
The new rules allow news media to enter the 65-foot exclusion zone if they have a Coast Guard credential, except in cases where safety and security prevent it.
The real significance of the change may be the establishment of a single credentialing point that could give media access to a wide range of Gulf spill operations.
The change was announced July 12, 2010, and there has been little time since then for accumulation of reports on how well the new set-up is working.
"Previously, media were required to contact local authorities each time they wished to access booming operations. The 20-meter safety zone was created to prevent boats from going over the top of booms; it is not intended to limit media access," the Coast Guard Joint Information Center announced.
"A credential will be issued for media representatives to carry and display as needed for the duration of the response. Media representatives can obtain credentials by providing their name, media affiliation, and contact information to the Unified Area Command Joint Information Center at UACNOLAJIC@gmail.com," the USCG JIC added.
"Reporters who are denied access to any part of the response can call the UAC JIC at (713) 323-1670 for immediate assistance," the JIC said.
- "Coast Guard Lifts Ban on News Coverage Near Booms," Associated Press, July 13, 2010.
- "Coast Guard Announces New Procedures for Media Access to Boom Safety Zones," Deepwater Horizon Joint Information Center, July 12, 2010.
- "Coast Guard Promises Greater Media Access to Gulf Exclusion Zone, But There’s a Catch," Raw Story, July 13, 2010, by Stephen C. Webster.
- Previous Story: SEJ WatchDog of June 30, 2010.