|egg case on tail of rotifer|
Sunday, December 02, 2012
BP Temporarily Banned from Government Contracts
In a rare move, a major international oil company was temporarily banned from US government contracting. British Petroleum was suspended from business with the government until the company can provide evidence it federal business standards. The Environmental Protection agency made the announcement Wednesday. The action does not affect current contracts, but BP is one of the largest federal contractors with $1.47 billion worth of business in 2011, most of that comes from supplying the Defense Department with fuel, so the suspension is a blow. BP plead guilty to criminal charges recently as part of its settlement of the Deepwater Horizon disaster that killed eleven workers, poisoned uncounted numbers of federally protected wildlife, and contaminated hundreds of miles of Gulf shoreline. BP is the largest federal lessee in the deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.
In a related story, a study from the Georgia Institute of Technology and Universidad Autonoma de Aguascalientes had determined that the dispersants used to clean up the 2010 oil spill increased the toxicity of the spilled oil by 52 times. The mixture of chemical dispersant and oil increased the mortality of rotifers, a microorganism at the base of the Gulf's food web. The findings are published in the online journal Environmental Pollution. Corexit, the oil dispersant approved by the EPA and used in the Gulf by BP was tested on five strains of rotifers. As little as 2.6% of the dispersant in a mix of oil inhibited rotifer reproduction by 50%. Rotifer eggs provide food for juvenile fish, shrimp and crabs. Researcher Roberto-Rico Martinez of UAA led the study at Georgia Tech. He said there is poor understanding of the toxicity of approved dispearsants and their toxicity to marine life maybe greatly underestimated. Dispersants were used in unprecedented volumes during the Macondo well blowout.