EPA Calls for BP to Slash Dispersant Use

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The Environmental Protection Agency is increasing the pressure on BP to ditch the dirty dispersant the company is using in the Gulf of Mexico—after the oil giant refused to observe its directive to switch to a less toxic chemical and disclose more information about its clean-up efforts.  

In a press conference with reporters Monday evening, EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson expressed disappointment with the company’s response, and said her agency will start its own environmental monitoring on the dispersants in the Gulf. The agency also called on the oil company to “scale back” its use of chemical dispersants by at least 50 percent. Responders in the Gulf, she said, are “approaching a world record” in the amount of dispersants used for a single spill.

Jackson said that she was “not satisfied” that BP has done “an extensive enough analysis of other dispersant options.” The agency, she added, would also begin its own tests to confirm whether BP’s assertion that Corexit is best dispersant option available “is accurate and supported by science.”

“We are still deeply concerned about the things we don’t know,” said Jackson. “We must make sure that the dispersants we use are as non-toxic as possible.”

Both Jackson and Coast Guard Rear Admiral Mary Landry stopped short of forcing BP to switch products, but said that the federal government reserves the ability to halt the use of dispersants altogether. Jackson said the decisions about dispersant use—and the resulting environmental trade-offs—have been among the toughest of her career. But she’s also said she’s reluctant to take them out of the toolbox, noting that “the number one enemy is the oil.”

“The BP spill has thrust upon us what could potentially be one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” said Jackson. “We live in a world where we’re making tough decisions based on little science.”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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