The Government Accountability Project’s “Know Your Rights Campaign” raises public awareness of Gulf worker whistleblower rights

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GAP’s Know Your Rights Campaign (“KYRC”) seeks to pierce the cloak of fog that has hampered both public and private sector efforts to determine ecosystem damages and human health impacts in the Gulf region in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil blowout. KYRC aims to achieve this by raising public awareness of Gulf worker whistleblower rights, so that people who want to speak out about abuses they witness can do so safely and effectively.

The myriad public health concerns in conjunction with the natural resource damages to the Gulf region have served as a platform for a number of adversely affected persons to voice problems and concerns with BP’s restoration efforts, the participation of both state and federal governments, and the scientific community’s continued engagement with Gulf residents to assess impacts to the region.

During the last fifteen months, Gulf coast residents have, for example, sought relief for the destruction of the Gulf coast fisheries and wetlands. Having been directly exposed, or witnessed their children’s exposure, to oil and dispersant contaminated areas, many residents along the Gulf coast complain of significant health problems.

The Know Your Rights Campaign advocates for increased transparency and accountability of government and private sector actors involved in overseeing the cleanup of the oil, in assessing the natural resources damages incurred to the Gulf region, and ensuring that liability remains with BP and responsible parties to compensate all the adversely affected individuals who have suffered damages, both economic and health-related, because of the spill.

One problem of particular concern is that the testing methodologies used by the government to deem areas safe for commercial fishing are woefully inadequate and permit high levels of toxic compounds to slip into the human food chain. During the next several weeks, Climate Science Watch will be reporting on a number of environmental concerns -- red flags that have arisen since the BP Gulf oil spill in April 2010.

The Know Your Rights Campaign aims to ensure that individuals who want to speak out against public safety threats, fraud, and abuses related to the Gulf Coast oil spill can do so effectively, while protecting themselves from retaliation in the process. Confidential expert legal advice and free counseling are available. For more information, see the KYRC website, or contact the Government Accountability Project at info@whistleblower.org.

Earlier post:
BP control of Gulf cleanup money interfering with scientific integrity of damage assessment, Senate Environment committee told at hearing

Climate Science Watch is a sponsored project of the Government Accountability Project.

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2 Responses to The Government Accountability Project’s “Know Your Rights Campaign” raises public awareness of Gulf worker whistleblower rights

  1. Tony O'Brien says:

    What rights?
    Whatever the legislation says, you have none. Everybody hates the whistleblower. The organisation because dirty big secrets are exposed and the regulators because they will have to get off their backsides and do some work.

    You will loose your job and probably your career. Even if you are protected it will not be worth staying in the job, welcome to coventry.

    • Government Accountability Project says:

      O’Brien is right on that anyone who has to depend on legal rights is in big trouble. He also nailed why regulators and companies all too often retaliate against the whistleblower, rather than heed their warnings. Whistleblowers are the eyes and ears to the abuses that are endangering their colleagues, communities, and families. The Government Accountability Project (GAP) has existed as a whistleblower support organization since 1977. Our first step is to warn anyone who is considering blowing the whistle what they are getting into. Their lives will never be the same. We've just published a book, The Corporate Whistleblower's Survival Guide: A Handbook for Committing the Truth, that spells out the risks in gruesome detail, and what you can do to deal with them. Another book we co-authored with other groups, The Art of Anonymous Activism, outlines tactics to make a difference without exposing yourself.

      But it does help to have rights on your side, and the Know Your Rights Campaign lists over two dozen state and federal laws of varying strength that you can fight back with. While we do not expect them alone to produce justice, associated lawsuits are the beach head for legal campaigns through media coverage, investigations, and public support that replace a whistleblower's isolation with solidarity -- the key to turning information into power.

      If anyone is considering making the difficult decision of disclosing these abuses, or finds him or herself the target of retaliation after witnessing an abuse, the campaign is available to provide confidential counseling and guidance.

      Tom Devine
      Legal Director
      Government Accountability Project

      Shanna Devine
      Investigator, Legislative Campaign Coordinator
      Government Accountability Project

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