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Markey Investigation Finds ‘Excessive’ Use of Chemical Dispersants in Gulf

Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass) released this weekend the findings of an investigation into the use of dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico. The investigation finds “excessive” use of the potentially harmful chemicals used to break up oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill, according to Markey.

The investigation found that the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Coast Guard approved more than 74 requests by BP and the Unified Command Center in Louisiana to deviate from requirements for dispersant use. And this is all after EPA and the Coast Guard issued a directive May 26 that told BP to eliminate the surface use of dispersant (except in “rare cases” that would require an exemption), reduce the overall volume of dispersant that is used and limit subsurface dispersant use, Markey notes.

According to a July 30 letter from Markey, the chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s energy and environment subcommittee:

An analysis of the exemption request letters submitted by both BP and Houma Unified Command, as well as other documents provided to me by the [Coast Guard], reveals that since the Directive was issued on May 26, more than 74 exemption requests have been submitted and, usually within the same day, approved by the [Coast Guard]. On 5 separate occasions BP submitted requests for pre-authorized exemptions to deviate from EPA and [Coast Guard] intructions by applying 6,000 gallons of dispersant per day to the ocean surface for an entire week, amounting to 35 days of pre-approved continuous use.

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