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Keith Benning

BP spill effects on fish

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http://www.tampabay.com/opinion/editorials/bp-oil-spills-effects-need-watching/1215934

 

Sorry, copied the link wrong. The article talks about lesions on fish. When the spill happened, The EPA didn't have any real hard data or research on the effects of Corexit, which was the dispersent that was used. They really dropped the ball after the Valdez spill, since the only thing they learned from long term testing was not to pressure wash the surface oil on rocks and beaches. The report that the EPA did, consisted of a bunch of pencil stick figure drawings. They ordered BP to stop using the dispersent in question, but BP wouldn't, and the EPA did nothing to enforce it. The EPA eventually did short term testing on aquatic life, but the test was a joke.

 

Dispersents are banned in many countries, and don't really disperse anything. What they do is sink the oil under the surface water. (underwater plumes of oil that the existence of was denied until the EPA and Coast Guard could no longer dismiss). I think the philosophy is out of sight, out of mind. When the oil is left on the surface, it can and will damage shorelines, but naturally occurring bacteria can break down the oil. When the oil is sunk in deeper waters, the bacteria often can't do their job at such depths. Oil companies are charged by how much oil is spilled, which is why there was so much focus on the amount of oil coming out of the broken well head. With a "dispersent", the oil on the surface can't be calculated. The other thing COREXIT did was to mask the chemical signature of the oil. There were products available that rely on the bacteria breaking down, but BP didn't want to use them, and the EPA first bowed down to BP, and then listened to BP since it hadn't done any homework on the subject. BP didn't want to use anything else because the company that produced COREXIT is owned and run by big oil executives.

 

The point behind the post is two fold. First of all, people should stay informed of long term effects from the spill. The second reason is that all fishermen and women should understand that the EPA, the supposed environmental watchdogs of the American people are inept in my opinion. During the spill, I called the EPA repeatedly with questions about why they were doing what they were doing. I was working as a part time reporter for a small paper up here, and 70% of the time when I called and asked questions of EPA personnel, they were unable to answer the questions and instead referred me to a BP rep because they didn't have the answers. BP ran the show, and the EPA sat on the sidelines, relying on the corporation that caused the spill for it's information. When something like this, or any environmental issues concerning polluted waters happens, people need to learn what is going on, and make sure the EPA is doing their job.

 

 

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