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EPA Response on Dispersant Reduction: 'BP Only Uses Lowest Volume of Dispersant Needed'

EPA responds to our earlier post about BP's continued use of dispersants. Here's the response from the agency's press secretary.

Earlier today, we noted that despite the EPA's order to BP to "significantly scale back" its use of dispersants in the Gulf, their use has, on average, only been cut back by 9 percent. At the time of the order, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters dispersants could be reduced "by as much as half, and I think probably 75 percent, maybe more."

When we called the EPA today, the agency's press secretary, Adora Andy, said she would get back to me with a statement for the record. We've just received it, and here it is in full:

When Administrator Jackson saw two straight days (May 22, 23) of skyrocketing dispersant volumes applied in the Gulf of Mexico she acted immediately to do something about it.  On the evening of May 23 Administrator Jackson and Coast Guard Rear Admiral Landry sat down with BP and ordered them to ramp down dispersant use - with an overall goal of 75% from its peak usage of 70,000 gallons on May 23.  The next day May 24, dispersant use dropped more than 50%.  Since Administrator Jackson and Admiral Landry met with BP on May 23 to demand a reduction, dispersant use is down 68% from its peak. The Federal On-Scene Coordinator, in this case it's Coast Guard Admiral Watson, has the authority to grant waivers for the use of more dispersant based on changing conditions at sea.

Thanks to Administrator Jackson's immediate and direct intervention, in partnership with Coast Guard Admiral Landry, this escalation was quickly reversed ensuring BP only uses the lowest volume of dispersant needed.

On the issue of the EPA's dispersant testing, the agency also gave us the following statement:

EPA is making progress on our independent testing of eight dispersant products on the NCP Product Schedule. The Agency is conducting tests to determine toxicity, to determine whether the dispersants function as endocrine disruptors and to model for bioaccumulation potential. We are also conducting the acute toxicity tests using the Louisiana sweet crude oil and dispersant-sweet crude oil mixtures. These tests take varying amounts of time, and the Agency also has to assure the quality of the data. As soon as that process is completed, EPA will share the results with the public.

For more, read our previous post, and check out our past coverage of dispersants.

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