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EPA vs. BP

05/23/2010

On May 20th, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a directive requiring British Petroleum (BP) to identify and use a less toxic and more effective dispersant from the list of EPA authorized dispersants. Dispersants are used to break up oil into small droplets so that they are more easily degraded. BP is currently using Corexit.

The directive required BP to identify a less toxic alternative – to be used both on the surface and under the water at the source of the oil leak – within 24 hours and to begin using the less toxic dispersant within 72 hours of submitting the alternative.

While the dispersant BP has been using is on the agency’s approved list, BP is using this dispersant in unprecedented volumes and, last week, began using it underwater at the source of the leak – a procedure that has never been tried before. Because of its use in unprecedented volumes and because much is unknown about the underwater use of dispersants, EPA wants to ensure BP is using the least toxic product authorized for use.

As of the time of this post BP has refused to end use of Corexit saying that the chemical product it is now using continues to be “the best option for subsea application.” The EPA has released a partial response from BP and is exploring legal options.

Click below for more information about this specific issue:

EPA’s directive to BP

BP’s May 22nd response

The Directive which requires BP to perform this sampling

Information on the use and amount of dispersants used

EPA plan to monitor the surface and subsea use of dispersants

Current reports on this issue:

Los Angeles Times: BP refuses EPA order

CNN (video): BP  won’t change dispersant

WSJ: BP defends dispersant

AP: BP want to continue using…

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