EPA to BP: Disperse a Different Dispersant

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The Environmental Protection Agency has ordered BP to use a less toxic and more effective chemical to break up the oil that leaked from their offshore drilling platform. According to The Wall Street Journal, Of all the chemicals approved by the agency for use on oil spills, Corexit 9500 is among the most toxic to certain organisms, according to EPA tests. It also is among the least effective in breaking up the kind of oil that is prevalent in the area around the spill site, EPA tests concluded. Corexit 9500 was available in large quantities at the time of the accident, however, and was on the EPA's list of approved dispersants.

Apparently, activist groups got in touch with their friends in Congress, especially Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.), who got himself worked up enough to write a nasty note to EPA s Lisa Jackson, says ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross. She, of course, immediately sent a note to the desperate execs at BP to use a less toxic dispersal agent, an example of shoot first, think later strategy. So now BP and the EPA have to run around evaluating at least three alternative, milder dispersal agents, while the oil keeps pouring in.

ACSH s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan adds, The broader issue here is that, in a time of crisis, the EPA will still kowtow to activist pressure. The last thing the Gulf Coast needs now are EPA agents trying to help, and mainly interfering with the progress of dealing with this disaster.