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Information is Ammunition
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20100518/ts_ynews/ynews_ts2110



Tue May 18, 2:19 pm ET

This morning via Twitter, NASA released a satellite photo taken yesterday showing that ocean currents are pushing the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico toward the southeast. And indeed, reports surfaced last night that 20 tar balls had washed up on the shores of Key West, Florida, stoking fears that the loop current may be carrying the oil around the Florida peninsula and up the East Coast.

That doesn't mean, however, that the Louisiana coast isn't still in peril. The photo shows that a large portion of the spill remains in those coastal waters, just off the mouth of the Mississippi River. Only now, it also has a long tail extending across the Gulf toward the southeast:

Just yesterday the Associated Press reported that scientists were "increasingly worried that huge plumes of crude already spilled could get caught in a current that would carry the mess all the way to the Florida Keys and beyond, damaging coral reefs and killing wildlife." Researchers have sent the Key West tar balls — reported to be 3 to 8 inches in diameter — to a lab for testing to determine their precise origin. Last week, similar tar balls were washing up on the Louisiana and Alabama shorelines.

—Brett Michael ***** is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.
 

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Information is Ammunition
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If they had only known.............................

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/business/7013476.html
WASHINGTON — When BP and federal officials decided to use a chemical dispersant to break up oil spewing from an underwater gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, they settled on a chemical cocktail known as Corexit.

But 655,000 gallons later, that decision is drawing fire from congressional critics who say there are more powerful, less toxic dispersants that could be used to combat the crude. The lawmakers on Wednesday suggested that corporate ties between BP and the manufacturer drove the choice.

Specifically, they homed in on a former BP executive's role as one of the directors of Nalco Co., whose Energy Services Division, based in Sugar Land, produces the dispersant. A former Exxon Mobil Corp. president is also on Nalco's board of directors.

“Why would you use something that is much more toxic and much less effective, other than you have a corporate relationship with the manufacturer?” asked Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., during a House committee hearing Wednesday on the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

BP America Chairman Lamar McKay defended the selection of Nalco's Corexit, which he said was made in conjunction with federal officials in the joint unified command directing the Deepwater Horizon response.

“We're using quite a bit of it,” McKay said Wednesday, suggesting that the availability of large amounts of Corexit was a factor in selecting it.

The Environmental Protection Agency has registered 14 dispersants — including two formulations of Nalco's Corexit — that are designed to emulsify oil, breaking it into tiny droplets that can be eaten away by naturally occurring microbes in the ocean.

Although the agency had allowed BP to spray the dispersant over oil slicks on the surface of the Gulf, it wasn't until Friday that the EPA green-lighted the deep-sea injection of those chemicals at the site of the gushing oil.
Appears to be effective

BP Chief Operating Officer Doug Suttles has said the deep-sea delivery of the dispersant appeared to be effective in breaking down oil. And Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said the underwater application could allow less of the dispersant to be applied to the surface.

Environmentalists have raised warnings about the risk that dispersants — no matter who makes them — can be stored indefinitely in the organs and tissues of marine animals.

EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson has acknowledged the threat in describing the use of dispersants as a trade- off between the harm of allowing oil to accumulate and the possible damage to marine life from the detergent-like substance.

Because there is uncertainty about “the long-term effects on aquatic life,” Jackson said, “we must make sure that the dispersants … are as nontoxic as possible.”

“We are working with manufacturers, with BP and with others, to get less toxic dispersants to the response site as quickly as possible,” Jackson added.

Immediately after the April 20 explosion of the rig and the discovery of leaking crude a mile under water, Nalco delivered its stockpiles of two types of Corexit to the Gulf of Mexico and ramped up production.

By the end of this week, Nalco estimates that “efforts to meet Gulf oil spill respondent requests for dispersants will have generated about $40 million in sales,” but that is only a small portion — about 1 percent — of the company's expected 2010 revenue.

Nalco's board of directors includes Daniel Sanders, a former president of Exxon Mobil, and Rodney Chase, a nearly four-decade veteran of BP who most recently was a managing director and deputy group chief executive.

Nalco's ties to the oil industry go further than personnel.

The company's energy services division that creates Corexit in plants in Texas and Louisiana was originally a joint venture of Nalco Chemical Co. and Exxon Chemical Co. Nadler questioned why BP had chosen Corexit and bypassed other dispersants on EPA's registry that may be safer. For instance, he noted, Dispersit, by Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.-based Polychemical Corp., has a safer measured toxicity and a higher effectiveness rating.
Other options

McKay said other options are actively being reviewed. The unified command is “testing other dispersants,” and “if there are better ones to use, we will definitely use them,” he assured Congress on Wednesday.

Charlie Pajor, a Nalco spokesman, noted that toxicology tests can vary and said that Corexit was in the same range as others on EPA's list. The product also has a proven track record, he said.

Approximately 655,000 gallons of dispersant had been deployed as of late Wednesday — with 600,000 on the surface and 55,000 under the water.
 

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This has only just begun and the White House totally dropped the ball on day one by beleiving the spillage was very minor... the goo will be everywhere from Cancun to North Carolina by end of summer.
 

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The "tar balls" mentioned in the yahoo news article has been proven to not come from the current spill (don't trust yahoo). Oil has been leaked (some naturally) into the Gulf for decades and tar balls have been found all throughout the coastline before for years. The use of dispersants helps to spread the oil to minimize the damage to the shoreline. Of course I did find it interesting that the use of dispersants could be just as harmful to the wildlife. Still have my fingers crossed for Florida. Unfortunately, I just saw some video footage of oil reaching Louisianna, it could be devastating to the fishermen.
 
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