Fight over the use of oil dispersants continues

By David Spunt - bio | email

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The EPA approved the use of a chemical last week to break up the oil that has leaked into the Gulf of Mexico. However, that chemical, which is called Corexit, is causing the Jindal administration to raise several major issues with BP, the company using the dispersant.

"We are concerned about where the oil may be going, how much will be in the food chain and there are a lot of answers we need," said Robert Barham, secretary of the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

"While I understand the importance of mitigating the effects of this oil on our fragile wetlands to date, little or no substantive data has been provided to the state of Louisiana," Barham wrote in a letter to BP Vice President David Rainey.

Barham's concerns are specifically the deep water dispersants, and the possible effect on animals. Officials are trying to determine whether dispersants are to blame for the death of more than 180 animals.

Professor Ed Overton with the LSU Department of Environmental Sciences says using dispersants is a risk, and was quick to point out they are not used near land.

"Nobody's happy with either of those and dispersant use is certainly controversial but when you do it way offshore, it seems to be less coastal impact," Overton said.

In his letter, Barham also complains BP is not forthcoming with the specifics about Corexit. BP says the specifics of the chemical are a trade secret.

A spokesman from BP said late Tuesday that the company will issue a comment on the letter once it is received.

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