Dispersants in the Gulf

EPA continues to carefully monitor BP’s use of dispersant in the Gulf. Dispersants are generally less toxic than oil and can help prevent some oil from impacting sensitive areas along the Gulf Coast. EPA believes BP should use as little dispersant as necessary and, on May 23, EPA directed BP to reduce dispersant usage by 75 percent from peak usage. EPA and the Coast Guard formalized that order in a directive to BP on May 26. Over the next month BP reduced dispersant use 68 percent from that peak and EPA will continue to urge BP to reduce the volumes used. However, dispersants come in many varieties with different effectiveness and toxicity. EPA has just released a study of such available options.

Ensuring Seafood Safety in the Gulf of Mexico

The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is having a devastating impact on marine wildlife. Fishery stocks are off limits in the affected areas. However, there are still large portions of the Gulf which the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has kept open to fishing activities. To ensure the safety of the seafood caught in these areas, federal and state agencies have joined together to implement a comprehensive and coordinated safety program.

Greener palm oil arrives in the United States

The first shipment of palm oil certified under sustainability criteria have arrived in the United States, according to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). AAK, a vegetable oils and fats manufacturer based in Malmo, Sweden, announced the arrival of the first shipment of segregated RSPO-certified palm oil to its refinery in Port Newark, New Jersey.

Bikes’ Niche in Urban Transport Expanding

The District of Columbia last week opened its latest set of dedicated bike lanes, part of a citywide effort to encourage cycling. The lanes run down the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, the busy thoroughfare that connects the U.S. Capitol and the White House and a high-profile route meant to demonstrate the city's seriousness about cycling.

Russia floats barge for waterborne nuclear plant

Russia on Wednesday took a big step toward the controversial creation of the world's first floating nuclear power station, putting a barge that will house the plant into the water. Environmentalists say Russia's plan to dot its northern coastline with floating nuclear power plants is risky. The head of Russia's nuclear agency Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, said the plant would be "absolutely safe" and predicted "big interest from foreign customers." Nearly a quarter-century after the Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster in Soviet Ukraine, Russia is planning to expand its own network of nuclear power plants and pursuing deals to build more abroad.