Environmentalists sue EPA, want more testing of dispersants

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wwltv.com

Posted on August 6, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 7 at 9:23 AM

Karen Swensen / Eyewitness News
Email: kswensen@wwltv.com | Twitter: @karenswensen

NEW ORLEANS -- The BP oil spill was a history making catastrophe, and some say it's not necessarily over.

There are lingering questions as to the long-term effects of the dispersants that were used to treat it. Did they do more harm than good? And how should they be used again if another crisis were to arise?

“We felt it imperative that EPA do its job and create regulations that have strong testing behind them,” said Jill Mastrototaro, Sierra Club Gulf Coast director.

To try to force the government's hand, a group of environmentalists led by the Sierra Club has sued the EPA, demanding more thorough testing of dispersants.

They say not enough was known about them before nearly 2 million gallons were dumped into the Gulf of Mexico, and now they say there's evidence suggesting the chemicals not only diminished the oil, but the food chain, too.

“The dozens of dead dolphins washing ashore, fish being caught with strange lesions, low shrimp catches and many people stepping forward regarding their public health concerns and problems,” Mastrototaro said.

Not only does the suit seek more testing of the dispersants, but based on that testing, it wants the EPA to create regulations that would dictate how much is safe to use, when it's safe to use and in what kind of waters.

If the Exxon Valdez and BP spills taught us anything, it's that history can repeat itself. The environmentalists hope we'll be better prepared next time to not only contain an oil spill, but protect the innocent victims of both the oil and the dispersants used to mitigate it.

 

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