MEDIA ADVISORY: Science and Policy WEBINAR for Media

JANUARY 12, 2015

Contact:    Lisa Marie Jacobs
[email protected]

MEDIA ADVISORY: Science and Policy WEBINAR for Media

Understanding the science of dispersants and oil-solvents
and upcoming EPA revisions to national oil spill contingency plans

On January 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm Eastern Time, the ALERT Project and Government Accountability Project will co-host a webinar to help members of the media develop a thorough understanding of upcoming policy changes and the impacts of oil, dispersant, dispersant-like solvents used in fracking fluids and tar sand diluents. The webinar will give an overview of the National Contingency Plan for oil spill response; the rulemaking process; and the effects of oil, dispersants, and dispersant-like solvents on human health, wildlife, and the environment. The panel of speakers will include Samantha Joye, PhD; Susan Shaw, DrPH; Riki Ott, PhD; Ira Leifer, PhD; Robert Mathis, MD; and Shanna Devine, an investigator with Government Accountability Project.

The information is intended to lay a foundation for the media to help the public understand this issue. Items will include:

  • an overview of the national contingency plan, Subpart J, and existing gaps in coverage, including public health, worker safety, unconventional
  • oils, sinking agents, public involvement, and more;
  • fate and effects of dispersants and oil-solvent combinations;
  • human health impacts of oil and dispersants/solvents combined; and
  • use of freshwater and subsea dispersants.

The EPA plans to open the public comment period for its proposed rulemaking on dispersant use during oil spill response sometime this month. For over four decades, chemical dispersants have been the oil industry’s favorite spill response tool for breaking up surface slicks. However, the unprecedented release of at least 1.8 million gallons of Corexit dispersants into the Gulf of Mexico after the BP Deepwater Horizon blowout has raised concerns among scientists, public health care professionals, public health and environmental advocacy organizations, and the public about the future of dispersants in spill response––and a growing body of evidence and science validates these concerns. But dispersant-like solvents are also used as diluents for tar sands oil and as fracking fluids. Panelists will address what is and isn’t covered under the existing national contingency plan.

Please register for Science and Policy WEBINAR for Media at: . After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Moderator: Riki Ott, PhD, marine toxicology, Director, ALERT, a project of Earth Island Institute,,

Ira Lefier, PhD, physical transport, Marine Science Institute, University of California, Santa Barbara, California

Samantha Joye, PhD, biogeochemistry, microbial ecology in open ocean and coastal ecosystems, Dept. of Marine Sciences, University of Georgia, Franklin College of Arts and Sciences

Robert Mathis, MD, CNS (Clinical Nutrition Specialist), ABAARM (American Board of Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine), ABIHM (American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine), Santa Barbara, CA

Susan Shaw, DrPH, Marine & Environmental Research Institute, Center for Environmental Studies, Professor, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental Health Sciences, State University of New York, Albany, NY

Shanna Devine, Investigator, Legislative Campaign Coordinator, Government Accountability Project, Washington, DC