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GOVERNMENT ASSISTED BP IN COVERING UP EFFECTS OF SPILL

By       Message Chyrisse Tabone, Ph.D.       (Page 1 of 6 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   20 comments

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Everyone under the sun is familiar with the fact BP's oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded off of the coast of Louisiana on April 20, 2010, resulting in 11 deaths and the spewing of approximately 4.9 million barrels of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. For the last 100+ days the saga of this industrial disaster has revealed the underbelly of secrecy in the media and the cherry-picking of science to suit the industry's agenda. The appropriately named "Deepwater" rig uncovered plenty of blame, including links to Halliburton, Transocean, and the salacious relationship between the Minerals Management Services and Big Oil. This melodrama is not "Big Brother" the reality show but its evil twin known as Corporatism. All the while, as ecological terrorism loomed in the Gulf of Mexico, BP's CEO Tony Hayward whimpered "I want my life back!"

Corexit--BP's boom and nature's gloom

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Let us review some of the events. On May 26, 2010, the EPA produced a memo directing BP to reduce its use of the chemical dispersant Corexit (produced by Nalco) by 75 percent (the maximum allowed was 15,000 gallons/day). The memo requested elimination of surface spraying but allowed a caveat indicating rare exceptions would be considered by submitting a request in writing to the United States Coast Guard's Federal On-Scene Coordinator. According to the "Washington Post" all requests (a total of 74 during a 54 period) to spray in deep and shallow waters were approved. Lockheed Martin's July 2010 newsletter "Today" indicates the deployment of C-130s and P-3s to the Gulf region by Air Force and Coast Guard for monitoring, mapping, and dispersant spraying. Yes, and this was per the request of the almighty EPA. To date, approximately 1.8 million gallons of Corexit, primarily a cocktail of 2-butoxyethanol, propylene glycol, and "proprietary ingredients" have been sprayed on the gushing crude oil. Corexit, Class B carcinogen, has been banned by the European Union. Whilst the hoopla concerning Corexit embroiled, a Nalco's goggled and gloved representative declares in a video "[the dispersant] is as safe as detergent."

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EPA Chief Lisa Jackson has voiced her "concern" over the use of Corexit but refused to outright ban its use. EPA's Senior Policy Analyst, Hugh Kaufman, denounced the use of the dispersant and boldly announced on "Democracy Now" that

Corexit is one of a number of dispersants, that are toxic, that are used to atomize the oil and force it down the water column so that it's invisible to the eye. In this case, these dispersants were used in massive quantities, almost two million gallons so far, to hide the magnitude of the spill and save BP money. And the government--both EPA, NOAA, etc.--have been sock puppets for BP in this cover-up.

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Hugh Kaufman has been employed with the EPA since 1971, was instrumental in development of the Superfund, and is not one to shy away from controversy. During the EPA's cover-up of the health hazards at Ground Zero, Kaufman lodged a whistle blowing complaint. Christie Todd-Whitman subsequently silenced him in 2002 by shutting down the EPA's National Ombudsman Office, which had been investigating Ground Zero and other Superfund sites across the nation. How Kaufman maintains his employment with the EPA whilst repeatedly blowing the whistle on cover-ups is beyond me! Maybe he knows where the bodies are buried? Nevertheless, he is a hero!

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Dr. Chyrisse P. Tabone is an environmental scientist, toxicologist, and educator with more than 25 years of professional experience. Dr. Tabone resides in Florida.

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