Thursday, July 01, 2010
Louisiana renews request for mental health funding from BP | NOLA.com
[Louisiana DHHS Director] Levine's letter explained his concerns over an "emerging behavioral health crisis" -- Louisiana Spirit counselors embedded in the impacted communities have already begun to report increased anxiety, depression, and alcohol consumption in their patients, an observation that community-based organizations have corroborated.
The reminds me of what happened after the Exxon-Valdez disaster. The EVOS Spill Fund was set up as a Trust and the Trustees consisted of scientists, academics and agency bureaucrats. A shadow team of industry lawyers vetted each request, initially denying them until the Trustees themselves got "whipped into shape" and became an effective filter for projects. They did not allow "indirect impact" funding, for example, and preferred projects with strict metrics. So the EVOS Trust became a fund for very narrow biological studies that really benefited the industry--the kinds of studies that the industry would be required to do in connection with "Findings of Facts" related to its impact on biological species. Meanwhile, the human and community toll on Natives and Fishers mounted. All of those issues were regarded as "indirect" or "secondary" impacts from the spill. As a result: the Eyak language program that had begun prior to the spill, was swept away by all the attention in the villages with the immediate consequences of so-called "clean-up" and fisheries recovery. The last Eyak speaker died in 2006.