Gulf Oil Spill: BP Trying To Hide Millions of Gallons of Toxic Oil?

BP Embraces Exxon’s Toxic Dispersant, Ignores Safer Alternative

It has been confirmed that the dispersal agent being used by BP and the government is Corexit 9500, a solvent originally developed by Exxon and now manufactured by Nalco Holding Company of Naperville, IL.  Their stock took a sharp jump, up more than 18% at its highest point of the day today, after it was announced that their product is the one being used in the Gulf.  Nalco’s CEO, Erik Frywald, expressed their commitment to “helping the people and environment of the Gulf Coast recover as rapidly as possible.”  It may be that the best way to help  would be to remove their product from the fray.  Take a look at some of the facts about Corexit 9500:

A report written by Anita George-Ares and James R. Clark for Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc. entitled “Acute Aquatic Toxicity of Three Corexit Products: An Overview” states that “Corexit 9500, Corexit 9527,  and Corexit 9580 have moderate toxicity to early life stages of fish, crustaceans and mollusks (LC50 or EC50 – 1.6 to 100 ppm*).  It goes on to say that decreasing water temperatures in lab tests showed decreased toxicity, a lowered uptake of the dispersant.  Unfortunately, we’re going to be seeing an increase in temperatures, not a decrease.  Amongst the other caveats is that the study is species-specific, that other animals may be more severely affected, silver-sided fish amongst them.

Oil is toxic at 11 ppm while Corexit 9500 is toxic at only 2.61 ppm; Corexit 9500 is four times as toxic as the oil itself.  Sure, a lot less of it is being introduced, but that’s still a flawed logical perspective, because it’s not a “lesser of two evils” scenario.  BOTH are going into the ocean water. [Read more...]

Sec. Salazar Cancels Gas & Oil Leases

Last Wednesday, President Obama’s newly appointed Secretary of the Interior canceled leases on 77 parcels of land in Utah that the Bush administration offered up for gas and oil drilling in a last-minute attempt to help his cronies. Amongst those were the parcels bid upon by the clever young activist who committed civil disobedience by bidding on them when he knew he could not afford to pay, to keep the oil companies from spreading their destruction on lands near his home.

Other 11th Hour actions by the Bush adminstration are also being reviewed. It is the expressed opinion of Secretary Salazar that the Bush Adminstration “rushed ahead to sell oil and gas leases at the doorstep of some of our greatest national icons, some of our nation’s most treasured landscapes” and that they did so without legitimate scientific review or consultation.

Salazar didn’t say new drilling was categorically out, but rather that the Obama administration would find a “new balance” between protecting cherished and sensitive park areas and allowing public lands to be used for exploration and drilling for gas and oil.

In January, a Federal District Court judge in Washington agreed that Bush’s Department of the Interior had not done proper research. The judge issued an injunction preventing the oil and gas companies from taking possession of the leases.

Canceling the leases is a fait accomplis. The government will give up $6 million in fees for those leases, but this is small price to pay, considering the permanent damage that the leases could have done to the unique geography of that part of the country.

“This is a critical first step and a dramatic difference from the Bush administration,” said Sharon Buccino, senior lawyer for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which worked on the lawsuit to block the leases.

Kathleen Sgamma, who represents independent natural gas and oil producers, expressed “grave concerns” over the direction the new administration was taking. “This is going to make it more difficult to develop the natural gas resources we need for our nation’s energy security,” she complained. It’s not surprising that oil and gas barons would be upset by the Obama administration’s move, but they don’t have a fellow oil baron in the Oval Office anymore. If this nation does what it can to achieve independence from combustion engines, the gas and oil can become outdated, unnecessary, and that is a far greater security for everyone.

Mr. Salazar said reviews of other Bush administration choices are continuing in nearly a dozen policy areas, including offshore drilling and endangered species. Special attention is being given to those made in Bush’s final months.

The oil and gas barons may not be happy, but the rest of us see it as a very welcome sign that President Obama and Mr. Salazar are taking the sacred trust seriously, and that they realize that further drilling is not the solution the U.S. or the world need.

A travesty was just reversed, and other such disasters will most certainly be avoided. Cudos to President Obama and Secretary Salazar. Now just pardon that young patriot who bid on the leases as a brave act of civil disobedience, and you’ll have the appreciation of this Green nation!

What happens on land nearly always affects the oceans. All of the earth is linked, inextricably linked into one global ecology. It all comes back to the source, the ocean, and protecting the ocean brings life and health to us all.

Civil Disobedience Beats Big Oil in Utah

A few days ago, a young Utah resident, Tim DeChristopher used a bidding paddle as deftly as that David who hurled a rock at Goliath, effectively felling Big Oil companies bidding on ten parcels of land near his home. He might have done more, but oil and gas representatives unleashed police on the 27-year-old. Their basis? They didn’t recognize him as a regular bidder. Plainclothes officers, requested in advance by the BLM, removed him from the auction and held him for questioning, stopping him from bidding on any more of the 149,000 acres of our land that the BLM had offered up for oil leases that day.
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