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EPA informs BP to use less toxic chemicals to break up oil spill

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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:18 AM
Original message
EPA informs BP to use less toxic chemicals to break up oil spill
Source: Washington Post

The Environmental Protection Agency informed BP officials late Wednesday that the company has 24 hours to choose a less toxic form of chemical dispersants to break up its oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to government sources familiar with the decision, and must apply the new form of dispersants within 72 hours of submitting the list of alternatives.

The move is significant, because it suggests federal officials are now concerned that the unprecedented use of chemical dispersants could pose a significant threat to the Gulf of Mexico's marine life. BP has been using two forms of dispersants, Corexit 9500A and Corexit 9527A, and so far has applied 600,000 gallons on the surface and 55,000 underwater.

"Dispersants have never been used in this volume before," said an administration official who asked not to be identified. "This is a large amount of dispersants being used, larger amounts than have ever been used, on a pipe that continues to leak oil and that BP is still trying to cap."

The new policy applies to both surface and undersea application, according to sources, and comes as the EPA has just posted BP's own results from monitoring the effect that underwater application of chemical dispersants has had in terms of toxicity, dissolved oxygen and effectiveness.

Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...



Glad to hear they're finally addressing this, but it's a hell of a toxic soup they've already created.
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rudy23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:19 AM
Response to Original message
1. Good thing the government was prompt with this. n/t
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joeybee12 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:40 AM
Response to Reply #1
13. Yeah, makes my head spin they were so prompt! n/t
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Yeahyeah Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:22 AM
Response to Original message
2. Seems like breaking it up would just SPREAD IT OUT.
Maybe they just want to make it so it can't be seen,just blend it in with all the oceans.
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havocmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:32 AM
Response to Reply #2
7. Yep. Outta sight, outta mind
and there are people in regulatory positions who are probably outta their minds for fear the shit and the fan will get them all dirty if people keep looking into the anatomy of this disaster.

I look for a pretty, blond coed to go missing any day now. And when is shark week? That is probably coming up in M$M any time now.
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rudy23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:03 AM
Response to Reply #2
19. Oh, they don't want to prevent anyone from harm. Just break up the slick for the cameras.
I'm disgusted with everyone involved, especially President Obama.
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hugo_from_TN Donating Member (895 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 03:08 PM
Response to Reply #2
28. That's exactly what you want to do.
Break it into smaller pieces so it degrades faster. Some parts evaporate, other parts are eaten by bacteria.
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Yeahyeah Donating Member (741 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 06:17 AM
Response to Reply #28
36. Going to spread some fairy dust on it while you're at it?
It'll make allll that bad oil just disappear kiddies,poof!
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Autumn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:23 AM
Response to Original message
3. About time, never mind how much
they have already used. So fucking stupid.
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global1 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:26 AM
Response to Original message
4. Too Little - Too Late......
the EPA regulates disinfectants that can kill bacteria and prevent many hospital acquired infections with a vengeance and puts up all sorts of roadblocks to keep helpful products off the market. Some say it is to keep the chlorine bleach (chemical)companies happy and in the money. Here we have these dispersants that are known toxic chemicals - and the EPA finally gets around after how many weeks - to give tell BP to stop.

This is just sad.
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. And they'd likely still be allowing it except for the publicity and pressure
The EPA and NOAA have allowed BP to call all the shots and to make a horrible situation much, much worse.
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janx Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:29 AM
Response to Original message
5. So what changed?
Edited on Thu May-20-10 10:31 AM by janx
Why did the EPA give the go-ahead at first only to change its mind later? :shrug:

Edited to add:

Could it be this? http://www.wdsu.com/health/23615203/detail.html
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:38 AM
Response to Reply #5
11. The EPA and NOAA have let BP control the situation
and do what they want.

I think Markey's taking a strong stance on this had an impact, especially since he chairs the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming and the Energy and Environment Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
And the scientists and public getting info out there and pushing on this is probably a strong factor. That pressure has been building more each day.

Looks like we have an ally in Markey.

http://markey.house.gov/index.php?option=com_content&ta...
May 17, 2010: Markey to EPA on Oil Dispersants: How Toxic, How Effective?

Questions Arise on Chemicals Used in Gulf Spill, Including Link to Giant Undersea Oil Plumes

WASHINGTON (May 17, 2010) -- Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today queried the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on the dangers of applying oil-dispersing chemicals deep underwater as an effort to mitigate the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. In the letter sent to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Rep. Markey raises questions about the potential toxicity of the trademarked formulation, called Corexit, and whether the chemical could be contributing to new reports of large undersea plumes of oil suspended thousands of feet below the water's surface.

The release of hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemicals into the Gulf of Mexico could be an unprecedented, large and aggressive experiment on our oceans, said Rep. Markey, chair of the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is conducting an extensive investigation into the spill. The information regarding the chemical composition, efficacy and toxicity of the dispersants currently being used is scarce.

A copy of the letter can be found here:http://markey.house.gov/docs/ejmdispersant51710.pdf

On the first question of the levels of toxicity of the dispersant chemicals, Rep. Markey notes that some formulations of Corexit, the substances being used in the Gulf of Mexico, were banned in Britain more than a decade ago due to their tested harmful effects to sea life. Rep. Markey also asks for information on the eighteen dispersants EPA has approved for use, including a ranking of their efficacy and toxicity.
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:33 AM
Response to Original message
8. Finally. But this decision was inexcusably late.
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:42 AM
Response to Reply #8
15. +1
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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:36 AM
Response to Original message
9. K&R
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:37 AM
Response to Original message
10. use less? Why is the stuff banned in UK but still allowed here at all?
Corexit: BP Using Dispersants In Gulf Banned In U.K. For Being More Toxic And Less Effective
First Posted: 05-18-10 05:01 PM | Updated: 05-18-10 05:09 PM

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/18/corexit-bp-usi...
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:41 AM
Response to Reply #10
14. Not less in the sense of fewer, but "less toxic" as in different chemicals
though I see how that reads that way at first.
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mod mom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #14
17. Thanks for clarifying. Still why were they allowed to use dispersants banned in the UK in the 1st
place? Surely the administration knew they were inheriting a corporate backed clusterfuck when they took over. A total overhaul and re-evaluation of policies and procedures should have been done earlier.

This situation is so maddening. How could this epic disaster be allowed to happen. The response does not seem adequate. I just googled to see if the WH had a website w updates on this disaster. I would think they could assign someone to updating new developments & how they are being addressed (thinking this story, how it's effecting the health of those near the disaster, the threatening of the CBS News crew etc) but instead I found this;

http://www.whitehouse.gov/deepwater-bp-oil-spill

last comment from the WH press office 2 days ago. People are getting outraged at their response. It would be good for folks to see it's being addressed urgently.
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 12:27 PM
Response to Reply #17
25. Completely agree with you
on every point you wrote.

The only person who seems to have taken the lead on this is Markey, who wrote the letter to the EPA asking the same question of why the EPA was allowing the use of dispersants banned in the UK.

And that and so much more should never have been allowed in the first place.

It is maddening.


Awhile back I posted about Transocean transcripts from their earnings meetings.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...


http://seekingalpha.com/article/190478-transocean-ltd-q...

Steven Newman is the CEO of Transocean.

Geoff Kieburtz Weeden

Okay. Would it be fair for me to infer then that these Deepwater rigs are because of regulatory or safety case issues not necessarily able to compete in the U.K. North Sea market?

Steven Newman

Well, getting a rig that is not currently into the U.K. sector of the North Sea back into the U.K. sector of the North Sea does require some regulatory approvals. And there are rigs in the Transocean fleet that would be relatively straightforward to do that with. And there are some that we would prefer to keep on the international market.



Now that seems to indicate to me that it's possible the rig might not have been up to UK specs either. And if that's the case, BP would know that, too.









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FirstLight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:39 AM
Response to Original message
12. gah!
It's ALL toxic, you idiots! Aren;t they supposed to KNOW that?

uh, water, oil and toxic chemicals = dead ocean DUH!

I'm so pissed and disgusted
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Gin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #12
16. day late & a dollar short ......who will check to see what BP is
using in response to this new requirement?
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NC_Nurse Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:02 AM
Response to Original message
18. WTF? Another "closing the barn door after the horses are all out" move by our
incompetent regulatory agencies!!!

Obama should purge these agencies of these old-school Bush corporatists and get some regulators who actually DO THEIR JOBS!
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NCarolinawoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:52 AM
Response to Reply #18
24. I totally agree, and get some real scientists working in that department.
Scientists who actually care about the environment, and who are not cynics who only care about political angles.

There seems to be an almost casual approach to dealing with this catastrophe. :mad:
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CreekDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 03:38 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. are you saying EPA scientists don't care about the environment?
pretty substantial charge.

pretty unfair too.

i understand being angry on this, i don't think it's fair to say that there aren't any scientists that care about the environment. many engineers there could make far more working for Chevron or BP than they do in government.
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Mugweed Donating Member (939 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:07 AM
Response to Original message
20. How about the EPA tell them to stop the oil release completely???
Edited on Thu May-20-10 11:08 AM by Mugweed
As an environmental engineer, I help various industries maintain compliance iwht their individual environmental regulations. I was at a facility the other day to talk about their spray booths and the owner hit me with something. The state had recently attempted to fine them $130,000 for the POTENTIAL for hazardous waste to simply make it out into the parking lot where it MIGHT reach the storm sewer. Of course, for this to even happen a whole series of events would need to occur that have a low probability of all happening during the same incident. In the meantime, the facility is required as a Large Quantity Generator of hazardous waste to have a Contingency Plan and Emergency Preparedness Plan on hand, always updated, and actually applicalbe to the operations at the facility. The owner asked me two questions I couldn't answer:

1) How are these guys not required to have contingency plans, emergency preparedness plans, and the equipment on hand or quckly available in case of a disaster?

2) Considering I was fined $130,000 for the POTENTIAL to have a relatively small release (1,500 gallons max, one time finite quantity, if everything suddenly made it outside), why is the goverment allowing this company to take so long to stop the ongoing release? Why is it acceptable to come up with a solution that captures 1/5 of the release while allowing the rest to continue to spread...and take a month to do it?

I had no answers. Here's my question: Is the government regulating the oil companies or are the oil companies regulating the goverment?
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suffragette Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #20
31. "Is the government regulating the oil companies or are the oil companies regulating the goverment?"
No answers here either, but that's a great question and one that merits repeating.
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riskpeace Donating Member (382 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 11:58 AM
Response to Reply #20
38. I live in Panama City Beach, FL.
So I've been following this very closely since the explosion. The events of the last month have made it clear to me that BP is regulating the government. I've been e-mailing the White House since 4-22, and checking the little box asking for a reply, to ask the administration to please urgently respond to protect the Gulf Coast. I'm still waiting on a reply and an urgent response.
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Bragi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:19 AM
Response to Original message
21. I'm sure BP will do better with their next blowout /nt
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Karenina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 03:26 PM
Response to Reply #21
29. At the Alantis rig unless they FUCKING SHUT IT DOWN. NOW.
Google Ken Abbott speaking to MSNBC.
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eagertolearn Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
22. It didn't make sense to use them in the first place. Why throw more harmful
chemicals in the water when oil is toxic enough. This wouldn't help save the animals. The other article says it fried seals brains when used up in Alaska. then i heard on CNN or somewhere last night that BP didn't know if there were any harmful effects of this chemical in such high doses.
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tomm2thumbs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 11:33 AM
Response to Original message
23. ie. pour it into a bucket of water before you pour it into the ocean - that oughta do it

they are dumping more sh*t into the original sh*t in the hopes that it somehow takes care of the original sh*t - but in reality, all the original sh*t is still there, it is just made more lethal with an additional 'spill' of toxic chemical sh*t to make the most perfect, life-killing broth ever to wash ashore in Florida and beyond.

when you drink poison, do they suggest ingesting more poison to somehow dillute the first poison? maybe in the BP world

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flamingdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 12:28 PM
Response to Original message
26. FINALLY. Maybe they found out the dispersant being used is BANNED IN BRITAIN! nt
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Nihil Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 05:58 AM
Response to Reply #26
35. Well, the silver lining ...
... is that maybe (just *maybe*) you'll get an EPA that will start to
act on behalf of the US citizens rather than the corporations ...

This dispersant is only the very tiny tip of the enormous iceberg of
products banned in the EU (and elsewhere) that are happily sold - with
government approval - for American consumption ...

Maybe you'll get the ball rolling at protecting your own people rather
than paying corporations to kill them. Here's hoping!
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BadgerKid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 01:40 PM
Response to Original message
27. Well, duh. I found anitfreeze in the ingredients list
after a web search WITHIN A FEW MINUTES when a searched many days ago.
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Doremus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-21-10 06:50 AM
Response to Reply #27
37. Antifreeze is one of the less toxic chemicals in the brew. nt
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fascisthunter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 05:39 PM
Response to Original message
32. did they say please at the end
fucking useless corrupt government.
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SpartanDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
33. long overdue
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Catherina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-20-10 06:50 PM
Response to Original message
34. You can only cry after reading this n/t
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