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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 02:40 PM
Original message
Obama Administration's Scientists Admit Alarm Over Dispersants
Source: Common Dreams - Gardian UK Article

The Obama administration is facing internal dissent from its scientists for approving the use of huge quantities of chemical dispersants to tackle the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the Guardian has learned.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has come under attack in Congress and from independent scientists for allowing BP to spray almost 2m gallons of the dispersant Corexit on to the slick and, even more controversially, into the leak site 5,000ft below the sea. Now it emerges that EPA's own experts have been raising similar concerns within the agency.

A plane releases chemical dispersant over the Gulf oil spill. Photograph: Reuters
Jeff Ruch, the executive director of the whistleblower support group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said he had heard from five scientists and two other officials who had expressed concerns to their superiors about the use of dispersants.

"There was one toxicologist who was very concerned about the underwater application particularly," he said. "The concern was the agency appeared to be flying blind and not consulting its own specialists and even the literature that was available."

Read more:
http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2010/08/04
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BrklynLiberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 02:44 PM
Response to Original message
1. flying blind? It is even worse than that. They are letting BP do the piloitng...
Why does it seem that the decisions are being made based on what is best for BP..and not anything or anyone else?
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 02:48 PM
Response to Original message
2. Further in the article is says they excluded the EPA to be part of the decision making in the gulf
Edited on Wed Aug-04-10 02:49 PM by superconnected
"Ruch said EPA experts were being excluded from decision-making on the spill. "Other than a few people in the united command, there is no involvement from the rest of the agency," he said. EPA scientists would not go public for fear of retaliation, he added."

"We are undertaking a huge uncontrolled experiment with the entire Gulf," he said. "They have fallen down on the job very substantially because they allowed BP to use dispersants. Even when they told BP not to use dispersants they allowed BP to ignore their advice."

"Independent scientists also criticized the EPA for claiming that the combination of oil and dispersants posed no greater danger to marine life on its own."

"It was only one test and it was very crude. We knew going into this and the EPA knew that this mixture is highly toxic to many, many species. There is a whole weight of literature," said Susan Shaw, the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, who has been organizing on the issue. "It is not the whole science. It's the convenient science."
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Roland99 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 02:54 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. This admin is OWNED. Lock, Stock, and two smoking Barrels.
:(

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Frisbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 03:11 PM
Response to Reply #2
5. "would not go public for fear of retaliation"
"he said. EPA scientists would not go public for fear of retaliation, he added." Doesn't he know we have laws to protect whistle blowers? Oh, never-mind.
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truedelphi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-05-10 12:37 AM
Response to Reply #5
12. The laws now in place protect any whistleblowers that
Agree with the status quo.
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superconnected Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
4. Check this comparrison out:
Edited on Wed Aug-04-10 02:59 PM by superconnected
"Why all this pretend in the Gulf by BP and all the president's men except the EPA whistleblower that oil and dispersants are not toxic? By comparison, last week in Calhoun County, Michigan, an Enbridge pipeline ruptured, spilling at least 19,500 barrels of oil. At least thirty families were temporarily relocated because of the stench and roads and beaches were closed. Health officials have warned people to stay away from the fumes and beaches, and to avoid swimming and fishing near oiled areas. "It's a very toxic and dangerous environment," Calhoun County health officer Jim Rutherford said."

"If spilled oil is "toxic and dangerous" in Michigan, it's also toxic and dangerous in the Gulf. But in the Gulf, public officials have downplayed the health risk despite hard evidence of an epidemic of chemical illnesses related to, I believe, the oil-chemical stew."

From another Common Dreams article:

http://www.commondreams.org/view/2010/08/03-7
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seafan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 03:13 PM
Response to Original message
6. This is indeed a turning point for the Obama administration.
'The controversy surrounding EPA's role in the oil spill marks a turning point for the Obama administration, which came to power vowing to repair the frayed relationship between scientists and government under George Bush and promising a new era of transparency.'



From the UK Guardian:

Obama Administration's Scientists Admit Alarm Over Dispersants, August 4, 2010:





.....

Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat who introduced a ban on dispersants pending further testing in an oil spill bill passed by the House of Representatives last week, said the EPA had failed in its duty to protect the environment.
"We are undertaking a huge uncontrolled experiment with the entire Gulf," he said. "They have fallen down on the job very substantially because they allowed BP to use dispersants. Even when they told BP not to use dispersants they allowed BP to ignore their advice."

Independent scientists also criticized the EPA for claiming that the combination of oil and dispersants posed no greater danger to marine life on its own.

On Wednesday, a toxicologist from Texas Tech University is scheduled to tell a Senate hearing that the unprecedented use of dispersants "created an eco-toxicological experiment".
"The bottom line is that a lot of oil is still at sea dispersed in the water column," said Ron Kendall. "It's a big ecological question as to how this will ultimately unfold." Previous studies, including a 400-page study by the National Academy of Sciences, have warned that the combination of oil and dispersants is more toxic than oil on its own, because the chemicals break down cell walls, making organisms more susceptible to oil.

The EPA issued a report on Monday, based on a study of how much of the mixture was needed to kill a species of shrimp and small fish, just two of the 15,000 types of marine life in the Gulf. The EPA test did not address medium- or long-term effects, or reports last week that dispersants were discovered in the larvae of blue crab, entering the food chain.

.....

"It was only one test and it was very crude. We knew going into this and the EPA knew that this mixture is highly toxic to many, many species. There is a whole weight of literature," said Susan Shaw, the director of the Marine Environmental Research Institute, who has been organizing on the issue. "It is not the whole science. It's the convenient science."

Hugh Kaufman, a senior EPA policy analyst, dismissed the tests as little more than a PR stunt. "They are trying to spin this limited piece of information to make it look like dispersants are safe and that the Corexit dispersant is safe."

EPA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. It is under fire from Congress for allowing BP and the coast guard to ignore its order last May to cut the use of dispersants by 75%. Documents released by the Massachusetts Democrat Ed Markey this week show the EPA allowed spraying of dispersants 74 times over a period of 48 days. At times, the EPA gave advance approval for the use of dispersants for up to a week. The documents also showed the EPA allowed BP to spray 36,000 gallons of Corexit in a single day. The controversy surrounding EPA's role in the oil spill marks a turning point for the Obama administration, which came to power vowing to repair the frayed relationship between scientists and government under George Bush and promising a new era of transparency.

Nine leading scientists have written a public letter calling on BP and the Obama administration to release all scientific data related to the spill, including wildlife death. "Just as the unprecedented use of dispersants has served to sweep millions of gallons of oil under the rug, we're concerned the public may not get to see critical scientific data until BP has long since declared its responsibility over," said Bruce Stein of the National Wildlife Federation.





Months earlier, here at DU:



BP promises to stop using dispersants underwater until tests are done on environmental safety, May 6, 2010


It didn't happen. And no one in power held BP accountable for its continued, egregious actions in US waters.



The credibility of members of this administration is in serious jeopardy.







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L0oniX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 04:17 PM
Response to Original message
7. I knew that NY Times article was total bull shit.
Edited on Wed Aug-04-10 04:18 PM by L0oniX
:wtf:

...and some here actually believed it ....like POOF it's all gone ...don't worry be happy la la la la la

more of the pathetic here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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sasquuatch55 Donating Member (701 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. Sad! Isn't it?
nt
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w4rma Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
9. For how long to they think the lie will hold that everything is clean and pristine like before?
Edited on Wed Aug-04-10 07:14 PM by w4rma
Do they not think that the people in the area won't talk?
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groundloop Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 08:40 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I don't recall hearing any claims that it's "clean and pristine like before"
Edited on Wed Aug-04-10 08:41 PM by groundloop
What I've read and heard from NOAA scientists (who have led the way on global warming research, by the way) is that the dispersant was no more toxic than the oil, and in fact it served to break the oil up into smaller particles that could be more readily broken down through bacterial action. Also recall that the EPA made BP cut the dosage they were using.

I think the point that many are missing is that while dumping dispersant into the water is not good, it made a horrible situation less bad.
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Lost4words Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-04-10 10:01 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. worse is "less bad" have a glass of corexit wont you!
Edited on Wed Aug-04-10 10:03 PM by Lost4words
no it made the spill look less bad to fool folks like yourself, why the hell do you think its illegal to use Corexit in the Englands waters ?

I think a few here are missing the point all fucking together!

But to Quote Billy Crystal Quoting Fernando Lamas " It doesnt matter how you feel as long as YOU LOOK MARVELOUS".
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