Some news outlets are today accusing BP of using too much oil dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico and these reports are based on some documents released by the congressional subcommittee on Energy and Environment. These unspecified documents say that in May, the EPA and Coast Guard ordered BP to stop using dispersants except on rare occasions, for each of which BP would have to submit an official request for an exemption and wait for permission. Apparently, BP applied for 74 exemptions and all were granted by the Coast Guard. Subcommittee members are accusing the Coast Guard of making too many exceptions. Rep. Edward Markey (D-MA) stated: •”BP carpet bombed the ocean with these chemicals, and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it. After we discovered how toxic these chemicals really are, they had no business being spread across the Gulf in this manner.” Markey further stated that dispersants are: •”… a toxic stew of chemicals, oil and gas, with impacts that are not well understood.” His statements are based on the findings of his own subcommittee which do not agree with other government reports. One would think that Coast Guard personnel in the Gulf who were working on the oil would be better informed as to what actions were necessary than committee members in Washington with no relevant training. EPA Approves BP Dispersant Today, the EPA has stated that a new study shows the dispersants used in the Gulf to be no more toxic to aquatic life than is oil by itself. The dispersant that BP has been using is made by Nalco Energy Services and is called COREXIT®. It works by breaking up the leaked oil into very small biodegradable droplets that sink. As they sink to the Gulf floor, they continue to degrade and disperse and are ingested by bacteria in the water. COREXIT’s effectiveness in the Gulf of Mexico has been acknowledged by federal government officials since June 24, 2010, when a press briefing took place with Thad Allen, the Coast Guard National Incident Commander and Jordan Barab spoke about OSHA’s monitoring program, saying: •“We have been taking samples again, of worker chemical exposures. Again, on the beaches, in the swamps, on the boats, everywhere that workers are. And I will just let you know … that we have found no exposure levels to any chemicals that are of any concern.” A report has also been issued by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) about monitoring done in the water around the Deepwater Horizon wellhead. It concludes that the dispersant is working well and oxygen levels in the water (which would have been lowered by the presence of oil) are back to normal. There are links on NOAA’s website to all their data. Marsh Grass Regrowing Meanwhile, in Barataria Bay, where marsh grasses had been brown and black with crude oil, bright green shoots are noticeable to Alex Kolker, a scientist with the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium on Cocodrie. He stated: •“You have to remember that these grasses normally live in pretty difficult conditions. They face changes in water levels and salinity changes on a consistent basis. They face flooding, freshwater from rain or the river. It’s not surprising it’s a hearty species.” The experienced BP Oil Spill attorneys at Long & Long are working with people who have been harmed by this oil spill. Please see our page on The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill for more information on this topic. If you would like to learn more about your legal rights and options in regard to harm from the oil spill, please contact our Mobile, Alabama office today for a free case evaluation.