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.
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