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EPA scolds BP in Gulf oil spill: dispersant is too toxic, change it

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It bolstered comments by independent scientists that far more than 5,000 barrels of oil has been leaking into the Gulf daily.

In a conference call with reporters Thursday, Ms. Lubchenco said pursuing estimates for the leak have so far been secondary to stopping the flow at the source.

“That’s not to say anyone thought the estimates are unimportant,” Lubchenco said. “Everybody thinks it is important to get a good estimation. The response has not been pegged to … a worst case scenario.”

The White House stepped in Thursday to demand that BP provide more specifics about the scope of the spill and its flow rate. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and the EPA’s Jackson sent a joint letter Thursday to BP demanding it set up a website in 24 hours that posts all pertinent plans, reports, and videos.

The letter says the company’s efforts to keep the public as well as lawmakers informed of the exact details of the spill “have fallen short in both their scope and effectiveness."

BP's dispersant choice

To deal with the massive spill, BP has applied more than 650,000 gallons of dispersant above and below the water. That volume – and the prospect that much more will be used – led the EPA to demand its less toxic alternative.

The two dispersants used by BP, Corexit EC9500A and Corexit EC9527A, are either comparable or 10 to 20 times more toxic than 12 other dispersants on the EPA’s approved list.

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