BP refuses EPA order to switch to less-toxic oil dispersant

Oil washes ashore on 50 miles of Louisiana shoreline as tensions mount over how to treat the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Big job

Terrance Castle of Houma, La., wipes off sweat while cleaning up the oil on a beach near Elmer’s Island, La. BP hired workers to clean beaches in southern Louisiana, where oil is 2 inches thick in some places. (Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles Times / May 22, 2010)

By Margot Roosevelt and Carolyn Cole, Los Angeles TimesMay 23, 2010

Reporting from Los Angeles and Elmer’s

BP has rebuffed demands from government officials and environmentalists to use a less-toxic dispersant to break up the oil from its massive offshore spill, saying that the chemical product it is now using continues to be “the best option for subsea application.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gave the London-based company 72 hours to replace the dispersant Corexit 9500 or to describe in detail why other dispersants fail to meet environmental standards.

The agency on Saturday released a 12-page document from BP, representing only a portion of the company’s full response. Along with several dispersant manufacturers, BP claimed that releasing its full evaluation of alternatives would violate its legal right to keep confidential business information private.

full article

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