EPA Accused Of Blocking Scientific Advancement of Corexit In BP Cleanup

Picture: Jim W. Murphy (CC)

Yeah, the free market would fix this.  Farron Cousins writes at DeSmogBlog:

Oil Spill Eater International (OSEI), through the Gulf Oil Spill Remediation Conference group, issued a press release this week saying that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) effectively blocked or otherwise delayed scientific advancement in the cleanup of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil disaster by refusing to acknowledge the toxicity of the oil dispersant Corexit.

According to OSEI, the EPA is guilty of violations to the Clean Water Act because they knowingly used the toxic dispersant instead of opting for cleaner, less toxic methods of oil spill cleanup.

OSEI is actually not off base with their accusations.  Reports from late 2012 revealed that using oil dispersants like Corexit make oil spills less visible, but when combined with the oil, create a mixture that is 52 times more toxic than the oil itself.  The studies revealed that even in small amounts, the combination of oil and Corexit reduced the number of egg hatchings in small marine invertebrates by 50%.  These are small creatures like krill, shrimp, and other crustaceans that form the bottom of the oceanic food pyramid.

Those results were just from small doses of the mixture.  And as I wrote in 2011, the amount of Corexit dumped into the Gulf was anything but “small”:

An estimated 1.8 million gallons of Corexit were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico in an attempt to displace the 206 million gallons of oil that spewed from a broken wellhead on the Gulf floor. And while the dispersant itself was ruled to be less toxic than the oil, the study suggests that the combination mixture of crude oil and dispersant poses a significantly greater threat to both the environment and marine life than either substance on its own. The EPA says that studies have been done on some of the 57 chemical agents found in dispersants, but they also acknowledge that no long-term studies have been conducted on the exposure to these chemicals in quantities as large as were poured into the Gulf.

As for the EPA’s role and knowledge of the dangers of Corexit, that was also known as far back as 2011:

BP knew that Corexit was not the best choice in oil dispersants, but chose to use that chemical anyway. Studies by the EPA showed that Corexit was far less effective on the type of crude oil that was leaking from BP’s broken well, and there were in fact at least 12 other dispersants that would have worked better. Those same studies also showed that the other 12 more effective dispersants were also less toxic than Corexit.

Think Progress points out that the choice to use Corexit instead of more effective, less toxic competitors could easily stem from the fact that the company that produced Corexit, Nalco, was formerly owned by Exxon and the leadership for the company includes executives from both Exxon and BP.  The EPA had originally ordered BP to use a different dispersant, but backed off their order due to insistence from the company.

Read more here.

Meanwhile: <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/embed/qHjqQFAu-8c” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

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  • jnana

    y’know there’s a mushroom that eats oil? plastic, too.

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      mushrooms are eeevil and poisonous and stuff and they make your head go wonky.

  • jnana

    y’know there’s a mushroom that eats oil? plastic, too.

  • Anarchy Pony

    As we all know, the EPA is an almighty job killing government attack dog that keeps good corporations down and (did we mention this yet?) kills good Christian jobs on behalf of the eco-terrorist, tree-huggin’, earth-worshipin’, Marxist, fascist, socialist, big government libruls, and is not actually just a toothless figurehead department that does little to nothing to actually protect the environment.

  • Anarchy Pony

    As we all know, the EPA is an almighty job killing government attack dog that keeps good corporations down and (did we mention this yet?) kills good Christian jobs on behalf of the eco-terrorist, tree-huggin’, earth-worshipin’, Marxist, fascist, socialist, big government libruls, and is not actually just a toothless figurehead department that does little to nothing to actually protect the environment.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742104313 Adam Goodwin

    So lemme get this straight: In trying to hide a problem from sight, the seemingly harmless stuff that they used to hide it actually combined with it to make the problem 52 times worse? Am I the only one that is somewhat spooked by the eery parallels with the effects of central banking QE on the sluggish growth of the economy? The surface (Stockmarket) of the ocean may look fine, but everything below the surface (the real economy/ecosystem) is fucked? Just more proof that governments are bent on killing you and everything you know.

  • Calypso_1

    You can take Corexits proprietary special ingredient for shits & giggles by heading down to your local druggist and purchasing some Dulcolax.

  • Calypso_1

    You can take Corexits proprietary special ingredient for shits & giggles by heading down to your local druggist and purchasing some Dulcolax.

    • InfvoCuernos

      “for shits & giggles”-more shits than giggles.

      • Calypso_1

        Depends on the degree of hilarity you find in the fact that after intense enviro lobbying efforts & lawsuits w/ the Feds the superduper trade secret ingredient Nalco was protecting was an OTC stool softener.

      • Calypso_1

        Depends on the degree of hilarity you find in the fact that after intense enviro lobbying efforts & lawsuits w/ the Feds the superduper trade secret ingredient Nalco was protecting was an OTC stool softener.

        • InfvoCuernos

          I guess its funny like getting poked in the eye- funny when you see the Three Stooges do it on tv, but not so funny in your own eye(even your brown eye).

          • Calypso_1

            Its funny to me that while the mysteries of contrails were keeping poor tormented souls up at night, bug eyed with their entrails in cold knots, US Air Force planes were spraying laxative over the outcome of a decidedly shady platform explosion which ultimately ended up of significant benefit to a certain State owned Oil Company.
            I used to have read Samuel Beckett to maintain such a juxtaposition of the absurd.

          • Calypso_1

            Its funny to me that while the mysteries of contrails were keeping poor tormented souls up at night, bug eyed with their entrails in cold knots, US Air Force planes were spraying laxative over the outcome of a decidedly shady platform explosion which ultimately ended up of significant benefit to a certain State owned Oil Company.
            I used to have read Samuel Beckett to maintain such a juxtaposition of the absurd.

          • InfvoCuernos

            That’s not the only interesting thing to come out of that disaster. Think about how much force would have been required to squirt all that oil out of that well at that depth for so long and you start to realize that there might be a lot more oil under the Gulf than was previously let on. Of course that didn’t stop the gas prices from squirting up. China partnered up with Cuba immediately to drill in the Gulf when that disaster showed that the Big Oil Corps. had been lying all those years about the Gulf of Mexico field’s size.

          • Calypso_1

            Made me wonder about a spill like that being a possibility from a natural disaster such as an earthquake or meteor strike. It also really made me wonder about the relationship between oilfields, mass bio-die offs & meteorite impact zones such as the Gulf Chicxulub crater.

          • Calypso_1

            Made me wonder about a spill like that being a possibility from a natural disaster such as an earthquake or meteor strike. It also really made me wonder about the relationship between oilfields, mass bio-die offs & meteorite impact zones such as the Gulf Chicxulub crater.

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