Friday, May 14, 2010

All In The Family

Apparently what’s most important to BP in this oil spill disaster is helping out their corporate cronies, not trying to minimize the toxic soup brewing in the Gulf:
BP PLC continues to stockpile and deploy oil-dispersing chemicals manufactured by a company with which it shares close ties, even though other U.S. EPA-approved alternatives have been shown to be far less toxic and, in some cases, nearly twice as effective.


So far, BP has told federal agencies that it has applied more than 400,000 gallons of a dispersant sold under the trade name Corexit and manufactured by Nalco Co., a company that was once part of Exxon Mobil Corp. and whose current leadership includes executives at both BP and Exxon. And another 805,000 gallons of Corexit are on order, the company said, with the possibility that hundreds of thousands of more gallons may be needed if the well continues spewing oil for weeks or months.

But according to EPA data, Corexit ranks far above dispersants made by competitors in toxicity and far below them in effectiveness in handling southern Louisiana crude.

Well, that’s unfortunate. But let’s find out more about Corexit:

Critics say Nalco, a joint partnership with Exxon Chemical that was spun off in the 1990s, boasts oil-industry insiders on its board of directors and among its executives, including an 11-year board member at BP and a top Exxon executive who spent 43 years with the oil giant.

"It's a chemical that the oil industry makes to sell to itself, basically," said Richard Charter, a senior policy adviser for Defenders of Wildlife.

Well that’s certainly nice. So they make money when they drill oil and they make money when they spill it. Neat.

Of course, I’m concerned about the toxicity of this chemical, and the fact that more effective alternatives exist. It’s not just toxic to wildlife, but humans, too. Workers involved with the ExxonValdez cleanup had severe health problems some link to the toxic dispersants.


EPA has not taken a stance on whether one dispersant should be used over another, leaving that up to BP. All the company is required to do is to choose an EPA-approved chemical, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson told reporters yesterday during a conference call aimed at addressing questions about dispersants being used in efforts to contain the Gulf spill.

"Our regular responsibilities say, if it's on the list and they want to use it, then they are preauthorized to do so," Jackson said.

”Regular responsibilities”? ”Regular”?! Excuse me but there is nothing “regular” about this oil spill. We need some fucking leadership here, people. The spill is bad enough, but we’re compounding the situation with hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemical compounds we’re piling on top of the oil. We're basically poisoning the ocean food supply, destroying the economy of the coastal region, which let me add Lisa Jackson still refers to quaintly as a "way of life." No, it's not a way of life. It's our FOOD.

They don’t get it.