Also, according to this article in the NY Times, it would appear — no surprise — that the US Coast Guard is a little too chummy with the British oil giant at the expense of the poor saps who pay their salaries. Gee, I wonder if our government could do something about that — like remove USCG Adm. Thad Allen as the Gulf disaster point man for the Obama administration.
EPA directed firm to stop using chemicals except in ‘rare cases’
by Matthew L. Wald
The New York Times
July 31, 2010
The Coast Guard approved dozens of requests by BP to spread hundreds of thousands of gallons of surface oil dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico despite the Environmental Protection Agencys directive on May 26 that they should be used only rarely, according to documents and correspondence analyzed by a Congressional subcommittee.
In some cases, the Coast Guard approved BPs requests even though the company did not set an upper limit on the amount of dispersant it planned to use.
The dispersants contributed to a toxic stew of chemicals, oil and gas, with impacts that are not well understood, Representative Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts, the Democratic chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, wrote in a letter sent late Friday to Thad W. Allen, the retired Coast Guard admiral who is leading the federal response to the oil spill.
In a conference call on Saturday morning, Admiral Allen and Lisa P. Jackson, the E.P.A. administrator, said they had worked together closely and had come very near to achieving the agencys goal of reducing dispersant amounts by 75 percent.
On May 26, the E.P.A. directed BP to stop using dispersants on the ocean surface, except in rare cases when there may have to be an exemption, and to limit use of the chemicals underwater.
But Mr. Markeys letter pointed to more than 74 exemption requests in 48 days, of which all but 10 were fully approved by the Coast Guard. In some cases, BP asked for permission after it had already applied the chemicals, the letter said. And in one case, the Coast Guard approved the use of a larger volume of dispersants than the company had applied for.
Read the rest of the article here.