We’ve been representing families in lawsuits against polluters for filling their homes with toxic chemicals for the better part of the last decade. We’ve obtained safe water supplies and clean air in homes for thousands of families, and recovered millions of dollars in lost property value for them. During jury selection we’ve asked prospective jurors to raise their hands if they believe that government adequately protects them from environmental harm. The next person who raises her hand will be the first. Almost a year ago to the day, we and the rest of the world watched in horror as a single deep water well in the gulf exploded and began spewing millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. For weeks on end we listened to lies from industry, and from government, about everything from how this could happen, to the severity of the problem, to how and when they would clean it up. Now we hear lies about the damage done, including the destruction of industries, families, wildlife and the ecosystem. The recently issued government report on this disaster lays the blame at the doorstep of BP and, to no one’s surprise, does not emphasize the responsibility of government for allowing this to happen. Truth be known, this was one well among thousands. The whole approach to permitting and regulation of drilling in the Gulf has been folly from the word go. It has been dictated by industry and the politicians who depend on them for their jobs through our coin-operated political system. More recently, we and the rest of the world have watched in horror as the nuclear plants in Fukushima imploded and have begun to reek havoc by spreading dangerous levels of radiation throughout Japan. Again, we’ve listened to lies from industry and the government, this time Japan, about everything from how this could happen, to the severity of the problem, to how and when they will stop it. The spin about how little harm has been caused is just beginning, but make no mistake, we will not hear the truth. The truth is they don’t even know how much damage this will cause and may not for generations. The problem remains out of control. And now, the budget deal. Last week, on the one year anniversary of the “spill” in the Gulf, our President and representatives in Congress cut a deal on the budget that takes $1.5 billion away from EPA’s budget. 16% of its total budget! Its recent efforts to regulate atmosphere destroying emissions have been shelved. The prospect of meaningful enforcement has been crushed. And this, as part of a deal that increases our war budget by $5 billion dollars. Industry and its henchman worked hard for this. Its no wonder that no one believes government protects them from environmental harm. It doesn’t. It can’t. And it won’t until we take our leaders out of the pockets of industry.