Government’s Expert Witness: Over 42 million gallons of dispersant used during BP oil disaster


More dispersant applied "than the amount of OIL spilled in any single accident prior to the BP disaster"

Presidential oil spill commission urged to address dispersant issue promptly, New Orleans Times Picayune, July 13, 2010:

Christopher Reddy, an associate scientist of marine chemistry and geochemistry at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said the use of surface dispersants is extremely typical and well understood to be safe, but some concern remains about their use in the sea's depths. ...

Reddy said he is also concerned about the total amount of dispersants used, which is unprecedented. He noted that 1 million barrels [42 million gallons] of dispersants have been applied to the Gulf of Mexico to fight this spill, more than the amount of oil spilled in any single accident prior to the BP disaster.

Reilly also said the dispersants' unknown effect on fisheries is troublesome. "You know a lot of fishermen have very strong reservations about dispersants, that it hides the oil under the surface and makes it hard for the fish to avoid it," Reilly said. "That's what we found in Prince William Sound" after the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker spill in Alaska, during Reilly's time as EPA chief.

Another report in the Times Picayune restates the massive 42 million gallon figure:

Reddy said the total amount of dispersants used is unprecedented and cause for more study. He noted that 1 million barrels of dispersants have been applied to the Gulf of Mexico to fight this spill, more than the amount of oil spilled in any single accident prior to the BP disaster.

Previous reports have put the amount of dispersants used at between 1-2 million gallons (25,000-50,000 barrels).

Was the 1 million BARRELS an error by the Picayune?

The scientist noted the amount of dispersants applied to date are "more than the amount of oil spilled in any single accident prior to the BP disaster". The Exxon Valdez released at least 10 million gallons (approximately 250,000 barrels) of crude oil. The widely reported 1-2 million gallon dispersant figure is no where near the 10 million gallons spilled during the Valdez.

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