News / USA

BP Ordered to Use Less Toxic Chemicals against Oil Spill

David Dyar

U.S. environmental officials have ordered BP oil company to use less toxic chemicals to fight a growing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. BP now admits the underwater leak is releasing more oil than it first estimated.

The Environmental Protection Agency said BP should make the change in 72 hours, and begin spraying less toxic chemicals to disperse oil in the water. So far, BP says it has sprayed 2.5 million liters of dispersant, most of it on the water's surface and a smaller amount near the source of the undersea leak.

The dispersant currently in use has been approved by the EPA, but officials expressed concern because it is being used in such large quantities.

Jane Lubchenco, head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, says the current oil leak is unique because it has continued for four weeks. "Because of that, dispersants have been used in much greater volume than ever has been the case in U.S. waters for an oil spill," he said.

Scientists from the EPA and NOAA have been conducting air and water quality tests in the Gulf of Mexico since the oil leak started four weeks ago. Some environmental groups say they worry the extensive use of dispersants will harm marine habitats and fish populations almost as much as the oil.

Experts say dispersants help to reduce the formation of heavy oil slicks, which can be lethal to sea birds and other animals that come in contact with the water's surface. BP has been using dispersants as one of several tools to combat the oil leak, including skimming and burning oil on the surface.

Meanwhile, BP confirmed the damaged well is leaking more than 5,000 barrels of oil a day into the water, as it earlier stated. Some independent researchers have said underwater video of the leak shows the flow rate could be several times higher.

NOAA administrator Lubchenco said scientists are working on several methods to produce an accurate estimate of the flow. But she says it is difficult to deploy testing equipment near the leak, because BP is using a number of remote controlled submarines to try to stop the leak. "There have been multiple efforts to stem the flow, and having lots of vehicles down there makes it more likely there will be accidents or that they will interfere with each other's activity," he said.

NOAA scientists also are launching new efforts this week to track the path of oil from the site of the leak, some 80 kilometers off the coast of Louisiana. They say an oil sheen has begun approaching a strong current in the Gulf of Mexico, which could carry oil residue for hundreds of kilometers toward Florida and nearby Caribbean nations.

You May Like

Computer Crash Halts US Visa, Passport Operation

Problems with database have resulted in extensive backlog of applications, affected State Department's consular offices all over the world More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

World Bank: Boko Haram Stalls African Aid Projects

Islamist group’s terrorism sets back agriculture, health efforts in Cameroon, Chad and Nigeria More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid