Plane Sprays Dispersant Over Oil Spill

BP’s oil spill size cover-up started to unravel on Friday as BP finally admitted its figure of 5,000 barrels a day lowballed the true size of the spill. But another of BP’s cover-ups is still going strong.

BP has already dumped over 700,000 gallons of chemical dispersant in the Gulf of Mexico – America’s public waters. But incredibly, BP is still refusing to reveal exactly what’s in that dispersant:

BP is keeping secret some of the “alternative” chemical ingredients it is using in the oil spill dispersants it is pouring into the Gulf of Mexico, claiming it is “confidential business information.”

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Concern is growing over the effect of the chemical dispersant on the environment, separate to the oil spill, with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) trying to force BP to reveal what makes up the hundreds of thousands of gallons of chemical dispersant it is pouring into the Gulf of Mexico.

The EPA has issued a directive to BP requiring it to use a less toxic and more effective dispersant to deal with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Like so many aspects of BP’s oil spill response, the redacted passages would be comical if the disaster wasn’t so serious:


“Exceedances of the chronic criteria appear unlikely, but could occur if [REDACTED] is applied in the same area over a period of several days.” Doesn’t that seem like something Americans deserve to know? I guess BP thinks “confidential business information” trumps the public good.

Jeremy Symons, senior vice president of the National Wildlife Federation, blasted BP’s continued stonewalling:

The administration demanded transparency from BP, and we got censored documents. BP cannot be trusted and this is not acceptable. These toxic chemicals have been dumped in the gulf for a month at levels never envisioned, and any information that sheds light on their effects and the potential for less toxic dispersants needs to be made public immediately.

First BP said trust us, only 1,000 barrels a day are spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. Then BP said no, wait, it’s actually 5,000 barrels a day — but trust us, that’s correct. Today, BP is refusing to put any number on the spill size.

Now BP is saying the dispersants are safe for people & wildlife — trust us. But the National Wildlife Federation won’t take [REDACTED] for an answer. We’ll continue pushing the federal government to do what BP won’t — conduct proper environmental monitoring, testing & public safety protection.

You can read BP’s full response here (PDF) and read other documents at the EPA’s dispersant page.

For all the latest news on how the oil spill is impacting the Gulf Coast’s wildlife & to learn how you can help, visit