In the first days of the BP Gulf Oil Disaster, when I first heard the word Dispersant, my first thought was that this was a very bad idea. Why would we want to “disperse” something that needs to be gathered up, calculated, and contained? However, not being an oil expert, I tried to keep an open mind.
Perhaps it’s been our open minds toward the “experts” in the oil industry that has enabled this entire mess. Each of us has done this out of convenience, so as not to interfere with our prolonged dependence on oil. We want to get in our cars and drive, and not question. And that makes us all responsible.
Turns out this dispersant stuff, at 11ppm, is four times more toxic than the oil itself, at 2.61 ppm. British Petroleum has knowledge of this, so thereby continues to add deliberate insult to injury. The most apparent motive in applying dispersant is to make their Spill appear less catastrophic; it looks better, on the surface. Never mind the water columns below. Never mind that there were no studies required, or even contemplated, and thereby no data exists on potential effects to marine life.
Why did BP make the decision to use this particular chemical? Well, we only have to follow the money trail. Whether we’re talking Corexit 9500, or its sibling Corexit EC9527A, both have a hideous rap sheet of probable harm to human life including infant deformities and cancer, and, again, no peer reviewed studies on effects to a marine environment, at all. It continues to be dumped, at over a million gallons to date, because a company by the name of Nalco had already invested in its production. And if we look we’ll find the financial twists and turns and incentives between these two companies.
Why, instead, didn’t BP invest in better boom manufacture, ready access and training for timely deployment of such protection, not to mention the personnel on staff available for immediate response in the likelihood of this eventual accident? And use of boom is merely an example of age old, tried and true methodology. What of new, innovative impact control technologies not even funded? Not even glanced at?
It is clear today that BP, along with every major oil company, has invested nothing, relative to their profits, in negating damages of mishap that the Gulf of Mexico is bearing the burden of today. But the fault of this calamity ultimately falls directly on U.S. shoulders. It was our lack of vigilance, our substandard controls, our turning our heads to corporate malfeasance run amuck that has brought this trouble to our world. We need to take a hard look at our own ignorance, and arrogance.
There are hundreds of thousands of people with better ideas to remedy this Spill, from ways to plug the hole to cleaning up the vast expanse of waters already polluted. But what happens to these ideas? They are stifled in the wringer of bureaucratic nonsense that the makers of the Dispersant Corexit never had to be bothered with. Did BP have to ask anyone’s permission to dump an additional, known, higher level toxin in the waters of our Gulf?
Straw soaks up oil. It floats, it can be picked up, and replace. Why are barriers of straw not being invested in, along with a lot of other simply great ideas? Instead we have of a million gallons, and counting, of a toxin called Corexit.