Ooh, they even referenced a decision to avoid using a superior alternative. That's the happy cousin to "let's dump millions of gallons of this dangerous toxic oil dispersant into the water". What is this superior alternative? It's called Dispersit and is EPA approved. In testing, Corexit was 54.7 percent effective at breaking down crude oil from the Gulf and Dispersit was 100 percent effective. In addition, Corexit is three times as lethal to silverfish and two times as lethal to shrimp. Good thing those aren't important things to the Gulf ecosystem or Gulf economy.
British Petroleum and government disaster-relief agencies are using a toxic chemical to disperse oil in the Gulf of Mexico, even though a better alternative appears to be available.
As the Deepwater Horizon oil spill spreads, BP and the U.S. Coast Guard have conducted tests with Corexit 9500, a chemical designed to break oil slicks into globules that are more quickly consumed by bacteria or sink into the water column before hitting shore.
The decision has been a controversial one. A few scientists think dispersants are mostly useful as public relations strategy, as they make the oil slick invisible, even though oil particles continue to do damage. Others consider Corexit the lesser of two evils: It’s known to be highly toxic, adding to the harm caused by oil, but at least it will concentrate damage at sea, sparing sensitive and highly productive coastal areas. Better to sacrifice the deep sea than the shorelines.
But even as these arguments continue, with 230,000 gallons of Corexit on tap and more commissioned by BP, a superior alternative could be left on the shelf.
On the other hand -as I'm sure we'll find out- the makers of Corexit probably gave more money to our elected betters than the makers of Dispersit did. Scientists agree that money to politicians is the most effective measure of effectiveness in an oil dispersal product. Plus, Corexit is a more deftly handled oil clean-up related pun than Dispersit.
So if the only environmental and ecological hope you were clinging on to was "Well, at least we probably aren't making things worse", well.... we'll get back to you. But it doesn't look good.