In a reversal of it’s former decision, the EPA announced that BP would have until Sunday, May 23rd to find an alternative to the toxic chemical dispersant Corexit that it has been using to “clean up” the massive oil spill in the Gulf.
Sadly, the deadline has come and gone, and BP has continued to dump large amounts of the dispersant (which some have described as deodorized kerosene) into the coastal waters in a feeble attempt to keep the massive sea floor oil plumes from surfacing and washing ashore.
And the excuse for ignoring the EPA’s directive?
BP claims no such alternatives exist, either because companies cannot produce the volume needed on such short notice or because companies don’t disclose the chemicals in their products – casting their potential environmental benefits into doubt (CSM).
Portions of BP’s response to EPA’s directive, as well as the directive itself, can be found here. It’s an interesting read, especially with all the portions that have been whited-out because they allegedly “contain confidential business information.”
BP’s attemps to decide what’s best for the ocean are both exasperating and suspect, especially when the makers of Dispersit – a water-based surfactant considered to be twice as effective as Corexit while one-third less toxic – have been offering up their product as an alternative since early May. Officials from U.S. Polychemical Corp stated again on Monday that they could meet BP’s demand and that the ingredients of their dispersant are public.
During a press conference call held early Monday, representatives from the EPA and U.S. Coast Guard said they considered BP’s scientific analysis of alternative dispersants to be “insufficient,” saying “we are concerned that BP seemed, in their response, more interested in defending their initial decisions than analyzing possible better options.”
While the EPA prepares its own tests to determine the least toxic, most effective dispersant available for a crisis of this magnitude, its has joined with the directed BP to focus the use of dispersants underwater (even though the consequences of doing so are completely unknown). They hope this could cut overall dispersant use by half and possibly more.
SIGN THE PETITIONS!
Find full Care2 Coverage of the Spill here.
Image: A team of U.S. Air Force aerial spray aircraft maintainers move a chemical pump into position in order to refill a chemical dispersing C-130 aircraft at Stennis International Airport in Kiln, Miss. (U.S. Air Force Photo by Tech. Sgt. Adrian Cadiz) Flickr Creative Commons - DeepwaterHorizonResponse
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