Another press release from the desk of Congressman Ed Markey
Letters to EPA and Coast Guard Cite Recent Increases in Volume of Dispersants Used by Company
(June 24, 2010) – Responding to increasing use of dispersants by BP in recent days, Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today wrote to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Coast Guard asking for an update on the analysis of the chemicals, and to respond to BP’s continued use of dispersants. The questions follow yesterday’s findings by government scientists that the underwater plumes identified are consistent with those that would be formed following the use of the chemicals, and ongoing concerns over the chemicals’ impacts on human and marine life health.
“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,” writes Rep. Markey in the letters. Rep. Markey chairs the Energy and Environment Subcommittee in the Energy and Commerce Committee.
In the letters, Rep. Markey says that an analysis of BP’s recent dispersant use shows the company has not eliminated surface application of the chemicals, saying “daily volumes hover around 10,000 gallons.” BP has also exceeded the recommended daily levels of 15,000 gallons of subsurface application at the spill source.
Click HERE to see the letter to the EPA
Click HERE to see the letter to the Coast Guard
As the EPA continues its own analysis of alternative dispersants, which Rep. Markey notes in his letter that “this type of scientific evaluation takes time to accomplish,” BP has not quite reached the goal of reducing the overall amount of dispersant used by 75 percent from the maximum daily amount of 70,000 gallons, and has yet to eliminate surface applications. In the letter to the Coast Guard, Rep. Markey asks for any copies of requests by BP to the Coast Guard to continue to use dispersants on the surface of the water, as well as the Coast Guard’s response.
Along with the toxicity of the dispersants potentially harming marine and human health, the chemicals are now being linked to the formation of large plumes of oil below the ocean’s surface. Yesterday, NOAA scientists reconfirmed the existence of these plumes, and said that their characteristics are consistent with those that would be formed following the use of chemically-dispersed oil.
In the letter to EPA, Rep. Markey asks for updates on the scientific analysis of Corexit and alternative dispersants. Rep. Markey also asks whether BP is making public all information related to the spill and its response.