The Production of Uncertainty
In the foregoing disasters, some of the uncertainties were perceived as being generated by the corporations involved. In the case of the ExxonValdez oil spill, many thought Exxon’s denial of the possibility of the spill leaving Prince William Sound as an outright denial of the facts, a denial that was confirmed in the minds of many when the oil spread in the exact manner local residents had predicted. The uncertainty over the possible short-and long-term health effects of the cleanup were also called into question by many people who felt that existing occupational health and safety data were being downplayed by Exxon and its subcontractors in
order to obfuscate the problem. In later pages, we will reexamine this problem in our discussion of the BP Deepwater spill.