August 2nd, 2010
06:30 AM ET

Report: Too much dispersant in the Gulf

Program Note: Rep. Edward Markey will be on AC360° tonight at 10pm ET to talk about BP's use of dispersants and the Coast Guard's approval of that use.

Rep. Edward Markey, Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Energy and Environment, released data and wrote a letter to National Incident Commander Thad Allen, demanding more information from the Coast Guard on BP's use of chemical dispersants in the Gulf.


Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is overseeing the federal response to the BP oil spill, said Sunday that he is "satisfied" with the amount of dispersants that have been used to clean up the disaster, saying crews have used them only when needed.

Allen's comments were in response to new documents released by a congressional subcommittee that indicate Coast Guard officials allowed BP to use excessive amounts of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico.

BP used the chemicals to break up oil after the April 20 Deepwater Horizon rig explosion sent millions of gallons of crude gushing into the Gulf.

Allen noted that the decision to use the dispersants does not rest with BP; rather, "it's a decision by the federal on-scene coordinator," he said in describing a "very disciplined process."

Despite a federal directive restricting the use of dispersants, the Coast Guard routinely granted exemptions, said Rep. Edward J. Markey, chairman of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee.

In May, the Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Coast Guard, ordered the oil giant to stop surface application of the chemicals during the oil spill except in rare occasions, according to a House subcommittee on energy and environment.

Keep reading...

Read Rep. Ed Markey's letter below.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Gulf Oil Spill
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Whoa Donna

    Isn't it VERY fishy how the number of gallons used is coming in at exactly 15,000-gallons, etc. The industry NEVER rounds gallonage or poundage as materials sold by Nalco et al are typically sold in pounds. This data is as phony as a $3 bill (I know, I work in the industry). Totally bogus manifest.

    More BP/USCG shenanigans

    August 3, 2010 at 10:18 am |
  2. Pedro Ordein

    Why not we just keep cleaning and billing the cost to BP? I can put together in 13 volumes of an encyclopedia all that have been said BP did wrong. But people in the coast are still suffering for the impact of the disaster. Some lawmakers need to go back to school and learn how to make a discussion that lands in a corrective action plan. Brainstorming is always the first starting point. Get familiar with the situation and the areas impacted. Then have an open discussion to assess ways to solve the situation. Get a resolution on the action plan and keep moving. Obama didn't open the well and he didn't have the cap to close it. Let get focus and give the process the right direction. A disaster plan is overdue and need to address the new challenges that we learned from experiences like this one.

    Will be nice to see if Anderson Cooper can create like a Real Reality Show that brings influential people to have a clean discussion on this topic with the purpose of presenting a project that can be taken by Congress to create a better disaster plan and create regulations that are in balance of our needs. I a will love to see this process on TV so all can learn how to make discussions that land in corrective action plans. We all can help. Anderson Cooper has done as much as he can by presenting the facts. Lawmakers need to pickup the facts and work a better future plan, not just politics and finger pointing.

    August 3, 2010 at 9:07 am |
  3. Smith in Oregon

    BP used the banned in the UK dispersant Corexit in a ratio of 100 to 1 with the heavy Louisiana crude Oil gushing out into the Gulf.

    BP sprayed out 2 Million gallons of Corexit onto 200 Million gallons of Louisiana heavy crude Oil. No more than 20 Million gallons of actual crude Oil was recovered leaving 180 Million gallons of 'dispersed' toxic crude Oil floating in the Gulf of Mexico plus 2 Million gallons of the toxic dispersant.

    200 Million Gallons gushed, 2 Million gallons of Corexit used, 20 Million gallons recovered, 180 Million Gallons floating in the Gulf.

    August 3, 2010 at 1:56 am |
  4. J.V.Hodgson

    Senator Markey's basic assumption in everything he does is BP lies.He even questions the judgment of the EPA and The coast guard ( Thad Allen) to do the job the government appointed them to do.
    His objective is clear and simple to find any which way he can "negligence by BP" to maximize fines on BP.
    Bottom line as with many things during this leak BP did not control the use, type, or amounts of dispersant, qed proving BP negligent on this waste of time.
    Even the various scientists do not "know the effects", if any, in the longer term it is all speculation without facts at present.
    Also as I understand it the dispersant itself is not Toxic per se except in very high ( non relevant to this debate) concentrations which is not likely.
    In 20 years since dispersant have been used the only one side effect I have heard proved was the effect on Salmon fertility in Alaska, at the PPbillion level, but not the same dispersant I understand.

    August 3, 2010 at 12:44 am |

    Why does Anderson insist on covering Sarah Palin's comments. She is ignorant, racist and not even close to being smarter than a 5th grader. So why does he cover any garbage that comes from her mouth. I believe this is his way of trying to spread negative comments about the president.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:35 pm |
  6. Thomas Jones

    The storm as we all saw dispersed the oil better and we should just let the storms do the job. Theirs another one on its way. Let nature do its job in regulating the environment.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:18 pm |
  7. Thomas Jones

    No the chemicals are said to do same or less damage as the oil. If they let the nature regulate itself it would of been better off.

    August 2, 2010 at 11:15 pm |

    Hello Mr.Cooper.
    The simple solution for illegal stampede is simple to stop.
    Like a bear going after the honey they will experience tremendous pain to get to the honey. Give them hornets and they may think twice about raiding the nest. It is not the bear’s fault for wanting the highly nutritious not to mention taste.
    Fine every business that is proven hiring an illegal $1,000.00 per hour for every person found to be illegal this will serve as the hornets to discourage illegal’s from going for the honey.
    Reward businesses and the illegal with honey who help those become legal citizens by giving tax credits for being part of the solution this also will create a legal labor competition for spoiled complacent mentality of all legal citizens. It is cheaper than building fences and risking life.
    American businesses are just as illegal as the illegal’s for breaking the labor laws.
    Common sense is not common any more it is genius by today’s standards.
    I humbly submit this.

    Hank Pugh

    August 2, 2010 at 10:56 pm |
  9. jo

    I can not stand hearing how the immigrants take away jobs.
    I don't see anyone whites, blacks, or others trying to work in
    the fields. I'm born here and my family worked the fields in the 60's.
    At that time again just Hispanics. Why don't all these people who want the Hispanics to go back to their countries show how they are willing to work out in the hot sun.

    August 2, 2010 at 10:31 pm |

    I just learned today that fish are washing up on the beaches of Gulfport and Biloxi and it is real unusal. I believe WLOX TV has reported this and it seems that the agencies and BP are trying to as we speak not let any one but there people work or report on this . Any on this??

    August 2, 2010 at 9:57 pm |
  11. Bob

    Is their an effective dispersant for fools such as Ed Markey? This guy has not the slightest clue as to what is going on in the Gulf of Mexico, and likely has never even washed dishes. He has never done anything except practice law and politics.

    August 2, 2010 at 8:10 pm |
  12. david w

    How about we just give Tony Hayward a rowboat, a teacup, a funnel and all the used plastic milk jugs and water bottles he'll ever need? Adm Allen can supervise the clean-up while he rows. Not to mention, the EPA can monitor the long-term health effects of human exposure to oil and dispersant contaminated water. Its a win-win-win!

    August 2, 2010 at 5:17 pm |
  13. Annie Kate

    Last week everyone was asking where the oil had gone – it was reported that the ocean and nature had taken care of a lot of it breaking it down into particles that are so small as to not be a concern. In fact, the next question after this was the oil spill damaged hyped up and over reported; now the concern is that too much dispersant has been used? I saw that the wording on this was that it could cause damage – not that it has caused damage. I sincerely hope the Senator is being over cautious and that the dispersants do not prove to be a cure worse than the actual sickness.

    August 2, 2010 at 3:42 pm |
  14. Bob pancake

    A cubic mile of water contains 1,110,000,000,000 gallons. Assuming the 1.8 million gallons of dispersant was 100% active (normally dispersant is 30-50% active), it would be diluted to 1 part per millon by just 1.63 cubic miles of seawater. Since the oil leak was about a mile down, a square 1.26 miles on a side centered on the oil leak contains sufficient water to dilute all the dispersant to less than 1 ppm if all the surfactant was injected at once. However, because it was bled in relatively slowly and because there was a continuous current flowing by the leak, it is unlikely any significant concentration (>1ppm) of dispersant ever exist further than a mile from the leak. And these dispersants are not much different than what is used in shampoos, detergents or FDA food approved emulsifiers. Sounds like Markey is full of malarkey

    August 2, 2010 at 3:25 pm |
  15. Brent G

    As a boat owner, if I spilled a cup of diesel fuel into the water I could be fined up to $5,000. If I were to squirt a couple of drops of dish soap ( dispersant ) on the spill, that fine could triple! According to Coast Gaurd literature, dispersants do more harm than the spill itself. I doubt BP was squirting dish soap into the Gulf.

    August 2, 2010 at 2:13 pm |
  16. Stacey LaCour

    I am only a Central Louisiana resident. No expert on any subject. I have not even been into the southern Gulf areas since the oil leak. I feel that this is what is referred to in the bible as God, turning the waters of the earth into blood. I am no religon expert, not even someone who goes around yelling to people to repent. But there are so many areas being affected, and now there is another oil leak in a lake in the northern US area. It is killing fish, and water life, plants, etc. If everyone will go into their bible and read what is to come, the things are stacking up.
    Please yall, start to pray, daily, hourly if you can remember to. It can only help. The non believers can pray, just to cover all bases. What can it hurt? And those of us who believe, we know the good that can come from it. The ladies from Garabandal, Spain, Medjughore, etc are bringing messages that tell us over and over to get right. To pray, to behave. Why not make an experiment out of it. Let's all just try to pray for each other and our government officials and see what happens.

    August 2, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
  17. Robert Stroney

    We should have some type of floating hub that communicates with satellites; they don't have to be big; they just have to float; distribute them all over the effected Gulf region; let's say they're big enough so they not mistaken as food. These hubs would measure water temperature, oil density, toxicity, chemicals in the water. They could also be weighted so they would float in the water column. They could also be used in the marsh areas to let us know when oil rushes in. This would KEEP THEM HONEST.

    August 2, 2010 at 12:53 pm |

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