BP Hiding Critical Dispersant Data

BP continues to defy a directive from the Environmental Protection Agency to find a less toxic alternative for the chemicals the company is using to disperse oil in the Gulf. And despite a separate order from EPA and the Department of Homeland Security to make its operations more transparent, BP is still keeping crucial information about its activities in the Gulf under wraps.

BP sent a letter to the EPA Thursday saying that it was unable to find a replacement dispersant. The company redacts a number of critical pieces of data, which it claims are “confidential business information.” An excerpt:

 

The EPA released a statement on Saturday saying that the agency it is working to get more information released:

BP and several of the dispersant manufacturers have claimed some sections of BP’s response contain confidential business information (CBI). By law, CBI cannot be immediately made public except with the company’s permission. EPA challenged these companies to make more information public and, as a result, several portions of the letter can now be made public. EPA is currently evaluating all legal options to ensure that the remaining redacted information is released to the public. EPA continues to strongly urge these companies to voluntarily make this information public so Americans can get a full picture of the potential environmental impact of these alternative dispersants.

I’ve asked EPA just how much the agency can do to force BP’s hand on disclosure and moving to a less toxic dispersant option. I’ll update as more information is available.

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  • Kate Sheppard was a staff reporter in Mother Jones' Washington bureau from 2009 to 2013. She is now a senior reporter and the energy and environment editor at The Huffington Post. She can be reached by email at kate (dot) sheppard (at) huffingtonpost (dot) com and you can follow her on Twitter @kate_sheppard.