Napolitano Demands Transparency in BP's Oil Spill Cleanup Efforts
WASHINGTON (CN) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Thursday slammed BP's lack of communication in the Deepwater Horizon disaster, and ordered BP to create a Web site containing accurate sampling data of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico within 24 hours. Also on Thursday, the Environmental Protection Agency ordered BP to use a "less toxic" dispersant within 72 hours to break up oil plumes that are reaching parts of the U.S. coast. In a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward, Napolitano and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson condemned BP's lack of communication with the federal government and the public, saying the company's efforts "have fallen short in both their scope and effectiveness."
Administration officials ordered BP to set up a public Web site and post its monitoring and sampling data with 24 hours. Analytical data must be posted within 48 hours. Both sets of data must be updated daily, officials said.
The Web site also must contain the location of booms, sampling and monitoring locations, oil plume trajectories, and outline where dispersants are distributed.
Officials also asked that all videos, records and investigative reports related to the spill be made public.
"The public and the United States government are entitled to nothing less than complete transparency in this matter," the letter states.
Also Thursday, the EPA ordered BP to use a less-toxic product to clean up the massive spill.
"Given the unprecedented use, EPA wants to ensure BP is using the least-toxic approved product," the EPA said in a statement Thursday.
BP has been applying "unprecedented volumes" of dispersants at the leaking wellhead - located 5,000 feet underwater - in a process that has never been tried before.
The EPA has been monitoring BP's use of the dispersants since the agency first approved their use for the spill on May 15.
Dispersants are used to break up oil into small droplets that degrade more easily. They are generally less toxic than oil.
The EPA said it has not yet identified significant effects of dispersants on marine life, but is still urging caution due to the novel use of the chemicals.
The agency said it will continue to "closely scrutinize" BP's activity.
"EPA still reserves the right to stop BP's use of dispersants under water entirely if the science indicates that this dispersant method has negative impacts on the environment that outweighs its benefits," the agency said.