The British oil company BP has rejected demands from the Obama administration to use less-toxic chemical dispersants to break up the massive spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Over the past month, BP has used about 715,000 gallons of the chemical Corexit, made by the Illinois-based company Nalco. The chemical is banned in Britain, and scientists have questioned its safety as well as effectiveness compared to other dispersants. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to switch chemical, but BP is now fighting that order. The dispute between the EPA and BP highlights the power the oil company has been granted in controlling the cleanup of the spill. Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Thad Allen was questioned on CNN about BP.
Candy Crowley: “And they say, why is BP in control now? They don’t trust BP, so why is BP in control of this?”
Thad Allen: “I don’t think it’s an issue of control. What makes this an unprecedented, anomalous event is access to the discharge site is controlled by the technology that was used for the drilling, which is owned by the private sector. They have the eyes and ears that are down there. They are necessarily the modality by which this is going to get solved. Our responsibility is to conduct proper oversight to make sure they do that.”
On Sunday, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar visited the Houston command center where scientists for BP and the government have been working to plug the blown-out well.
Ken Salazar: “I am angry and I am frustrated that BP has been unable to stop this well from leaking and to stop this pollution from spreading. We are thirty-three days into this effort, and deadline after deadline has been missed.”