50,000 signatures reached
To: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Tell the EPA: Ban toxic oil dispersants
The BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill was the worst environmental disaster in American history. BP’s experimental use of Corexit dispersants made the problem worse by causing more harm to wildlife and people. Ban toxic dispersants without delay to avoid repeating the same public health and environmental tragedies that EPA allowed in the Gulf of Mexico.
Why is this important?
I’m Dr. Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist and former Alaska commercial fisherman who experienced the devastation of the Exxon Valdez oil spill firsthand. I’ve dedicated my career to transitioning off fossil fuels, because as long as we drill, we spill. My focus is on raising public awareness of the debilitating and life-threatening impacts of oil and oil dispersants on human health.
After the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010, I traveled to Gulf of Mexico coastal communities and saw firsthand the damage inflicted by the oil itself and the chemical dispersant Corexit that was used to cover up the magnitude of the damage. Corexit moves oil beneath the sea surface, where it sinks or forms tar mats and washes ashore – harming life for years, even decades, after the disaster.
Corexit dispersants were tested during the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil disaster in Alaska and found to harm people and the environment. The same Corexit products were used following the devastating 2010 BP oil disaster, despite manufacturer’s warnings to “not contaminate surface water,” since the potential human health hazard is “high.”
True to warnings, many studies have found that effects of oil and dispersant combined are more deadly than oil alone to sea life – from plankton to whales – and to people, especially children. Whistleblowers further exposed the truth behind Corexit in the Government Accountability Project’s investigative report, “Deadly Dispersants in the Gulf.”
When the Environmental Protection Agency finally opened its public comment period on rules governing dispersant use, public opposition to these deadly chemicals outnumbered industry support by 60 to 1. The EPA promised new rules governing dispersant use in fall 2016 to make things right before Obama leaves office, but now the EPA says the rules won’t be ready until August 2018 – 17 years after the process was first initiated.
This delay undermines EPA’s mission and harms our oceans – and people. As deepwater drilling expands off U.S. coasts, other oil disasters are inevitable. So is dispersant use, as every coastal state has pre-approved use of toxic Corexit dispersants since before the BP disaster.
EPA must act now to ban use of toxic dispersants so we don’t repeat the same tragedy that EPA allowed in the Gulf of Mexico to happen in other places and to other families.
Watch this video to learn more: