BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The EPA gave BP another order Monday to significantly reduce the use of a potentially dangerous dispersant to break up the oil gushing into the Gulf of Mexico from a busted oil well. The new order was made after several deadlines passed for BP to stop with that plan.
Louisiana officials have been complaining for several weeks about using the potentially harmful chemicals to try to prevent the crude from reaching the state's delicate coastline.
"This is the largest incident response in oil spill ever in the history of the United States," said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
At the direction of President Barack Obama, several high level cabinet officials visited Louisiana to see the spill first-hand.
"BP, in my mind, no longer stands for British Petroleum," said US Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Illinois. "It stands for beyond patience."
Almost two weeks ago, the EPA approved a chemical called Corexit to help break up the oil thousands of feet below the surface. Last week, in a sudden change of heart, the EPA demanded BP to find something safer. BP continues to argue there is nothing they see better.
"I wasn't satisfied with the answer that we got," EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson said. "It seems more like a defense of their current choice. It reminded me a bit of that commercial, 'I'd rather fight than switch.'"
Jackson added she is ordering BP to find something else to use, while reducing dispersant use by up to 80 percent. BP CEO Tony Hayward continues to defend the use of Corexit.
"We will remediate any environmental damage and we will put the Gulf Coast right and back to normality as fast as we can," Hayward said.
A BP spokesman said the company plans on following the new directive from the EPA.