Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard alleging the agencies approved the use of chemical dispersants without knowing how the chemicals in the dispersants could affect endangered species. The plaintiffs, the Surfrider Foundation, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Pacific Environment, say the agencies have violated the Endangered Species Act by failing to consult with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service to determine how endangered species may have been affected by the chemicals used to clean up the oil from the Gulf of Mexico.
According to the lawsuit, over 1.8 million gallons of dispersant were used in the Gulf, in what amounts to a “huge…unplanned experiment where dispersants were used in unprecedented quantities and different ways, using them subsea rather than just on the surface, and information is continuing to come out from that,” an attorney for the groups said. “The whole idea is to have a better understanding of all these products, and when and where and how they can or can’t be used safely.”
The lawsuit, filed almost exactly two years after the Deepwater Horizon disaster, comes just one month before Shell Oil plans to begin drilling tests in the Chukchi Sea as part of the Arctic drilling plan.