Share this Post:

unEARTHED. The Earthjustice Blog

Are Oil Dispersants, Like, Magic? Or Toxic?


    SIGN-UP for our latest news and action alerts:
   Please leave this field empty

Facebook Fans

Related Blog Entries

by Terry Winckler:
Massive Attacks on Environment Launched in Congress

Teabag by teabag, the anti-environment faction in the House of Representatives has filled its federal government spending bil...

by Maria Beloborodova:
The Top 10 unEarthed Stories of 2012

Blog posts about Earth's magnificent places and creatures were the most popular themes for unEarthed readers in 2012. By far the most-read post concer...

by Trip Van Noppen:
Age Of Extreme Energy Needs Extreme Caution

In April 2010, a national nightmare began with a blowout into the Gulf of Mexico. But the hundreds of millions of gallons of oil from the Deepwater Ho...

Earthjustice on Twitter

View Kathleen Sutcliffe's blog posts
13 October 2010, 2:36 PM
We want to know. Preferably before the next oil spill
Third-generation shrimp fisherman Clint Guidry. Credit: Matthew Preusch/Gulf Restoration Network

Yesterday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazer lifted the moratorium on deepwater oil drilling and declared the Gulf of Mexico "open for business."

We presume he was talking to the folks at BP, Exxon, and Shell—not so much to shrimp fishermen like Clint Guidry.

Like his father and grandfather before him, the 62-year-old Guidry has worked in Louisiana's shrimp industry for most of his adult life. But he simply doesn't know what the future holds for the family business.

A lot depends on the chemicals used as so-called dispersants in the wake of the BP Deepwater Horizon spill this summer. Did the 1.8 million gallons of chemicals dumped into the Gulf of Mexico send toxic-coated oil droplets tumbling from the water's surface and into the same areas of the ocean where Guidry's catch feed and spawn? Will it make the ocean creatures sick? What about the people who eat Gulf-caught fish?

Guidry, who also heads the Louisiana Shrimp Association, has a lot of questions. So do the folks up in Alaska—including the Cook Inletkeeper and Alaska Community Action on Toxics—who remember none too fondly the harsh chemicals dumped into their waters, sickening workers cleaning up the Exxon Valdez spill.

That's why Earthjustice attorney Marianne Engelman Lado filed a petition today on the groups' behalf asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to press industry for a list of what chemicals are in dispersants and how dangerous they are. The petition, also representing the Florida Wildlife Federation, Gulf Restoration Network, Waterkeeper and Sierra Club, asked the agency to write rules spelling out exactly how and when dispersants could be used in the future. And, just for good measure, she also filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue (PDF) over information long required under the Clean Water Act that identifies exactly where dispersants may be used and how much is safe.

The efforts come not a moment too soon. With the time-out on deepwater drilling officially called off, it seems only a matter of time before the oil industry makes another mess. Before the oil executives reach for chemical dispersants as their preferred cleanup/PR tool, officials need to know the true cost to the health of our waters, wildlife, and families.
 

The efforts come not a moment too soon. With the time-out on north face outlet deepwater drilling officially called off, it seems only a matter of time before the oil industry makes another mess. Before the oil executives reach for chemical dispersants as their preferred cleanup/PR tool, the north face outlet officials need to know the true cost to the health of our waters, wildlife, and families.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <p> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.