Markey: Why’s BP Still Getting Away With Heavy Dispersant Use?

BP has not been meeting the directive from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard to slash dispersant use in the Gulf, as David and I reported Wednesday. On Thursday, Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) pressed the EPA and the Coast Guard on why the company is being allowed to violate their orders.

Markey points out that BP has not eliminated surface application of the chemicals. While they’ve cut them, “volumes hover around 10,000 gallons” every day. And on several days, BP has surpassed the 15,000 gallon limit on undersea application at the spill source.

“Million of gallons of chemical dispersant have been added to the Gulf waters, contributing to a toxic stew of chemicals, oil and gas with impacts that are not well understood,” wrote Markey. Markey has also been pressing BP on the issue of undersea plumes of oil, which is likely caused by these dispersants.

Meanwhile, the EPA has not yet concluded its own tests on both Corexit, BP’s dispersant of choice, and alternatives. Markey acknowledged that “this type of scientific evaluation takes time to accomplish,” but argued that the federal government should at least be pushing BP to meet the goal of reducing the use of Corexit as they finalize those tests.


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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.