Markey Analysis Shows Coast Guard Allowed BP, Spill Response Officials to Excessively Use Dispersants, Chairman Ed Markey, July 31, 2010:
Coast Guard Rubber-Stamped Applications as BP Provided Vastly Different Numbers to Congress, Executive Branch
Rep. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Chairman of the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, today released a letter sent to National Incident Commander Thad Allen and documents revealing that the U.S. Coast Guard, tasked with limiting BP’s use of toxic dispersants during the Gulf oil spill disaster, repeatedly allowed the oil company to use excessive amounts of the chemical on the surface of the ocean.
These exemptions were granted on a daily basis despite a prior federal directive that the company cease that tactic to combat the spill except in “rare” circumstances. The exemptions were also extended to Houma Unified Command, an oil spill response center in Houma, La., which consists of U.S. Coast Guard and other personnel and reports to the Federal On Scene Coordinator.
In many cases, these applications appeared to be rubber stamped by the Coast Guard, including pre-approvals for weeks’ worth of unlimited use, as well as retroactive approvals for surface applications of dispersants for which BP failed to obtain prior permission. These actions by the Coast Guard appear to have largely undercut a directive it co-signed with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that said that dispersant chemicals be used on the ocean’s surface only in “rare cases,” and only with advance approval.
Chairman Markey’s July 30 letter to the Coast Guard is available here: http://markey.house.gov/docs/07-30-10ejmtocgdispersants.pdf
Chairman Markey’s June 24 letter to the Coast Guard is available here: http://markey.house.gov/docs/06-24-10_ejm_dispersant_coast_guard.pdf
The Coast Guard’s July 15 letter to Chairman Markey is available here: http://markey.house.gov/docs/07-15-10cgtoejmdispersants.pdf
Documents related to the analysis, in chronological order: