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US official: BP's dispersants use is down

US official: BP's dispersants use is down

BP's use of dispersants to fight the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has been significantly reduced, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency told a congressional panel Thursday.
EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson testified that BP used less than 12,000 gallons (45,000 liters) of dispersants on Wednesday, down from 70,000 gallons (265,000 liters) four days ago. She argued that showed that EPA has been aggressive in getting BP to scale back its use of the dispersants, whose long-term effects are unknown. The chemicals are used to break up oil spilled into water.
But under questioning from lawmakers later, she said the company is still using the dispersant Corexit 9500 _ even though the EPA last week directed BP to find a less toxic alternative. The product can cause eye, skin or respiratory irritation with prolonged exposure and has been identified as a "moderate" human health hazard.
Earlier this week, White House energy adviser Carol Browner said it became clear the alternatives were not as widely available as needed.
"The concern became as this thing has become a longer-term release whether or not their original decision to use Corexit might not be looked at again _ whether there was something less toxic out there," Jackson said at a House Energy and Commerce energy and environment subcommittee hearing. "BP has not identified anything less toxic."
Still, she said it has been effective in the Gulf.
"It is a tough trade-off, but I believe it has been a useful tool," Jackson said. "We owe it to everyone, especially when I go down there and I talk to shrimpers and others. There's a lot of concern. And right now I can't give them all the answers they'd like about whether or not this dispersant is in the waters."


Updated : 2021-06-18 11:10 GMT+08:00