#whatstheplanepa campaign

The Problem: Dispersants

During the 2010 BP oil disaster, unprecedented amounts of toxic oil-based dispersants were used to allegedly minimize harm to people and wildlife from the crude oil itself.

Aerial spraying and deep sea injection continued daily, for months. Nothing like this had ever been tried before — it was all a giant experiment.

The results are in.

Oil and dispersants create a toxic cocktail that can be lethal to wildlife and humans. One study found that dispersants can make oil up to 52 times more toxic.

©Julie Dermansky
©Julie Dermansky

This affects everyone.

By not maintaining a current, science-based national emergency response plan for oil spills, the EPA is putting at risk some 133 million Americans who live near the coasts – that’s 39 percent of the U.S. population. The EPA is putting at risk millions more Americans who visit and recreate at coasts – and the millions more who live near lakes, rivers, or along oil pipeline and railroad corridors.

It’s not a matter of if, but when the next oil-related disaster will occur.

Offshore oil drilling and oil transportation – whether by tanker, pipeline or railcar – are risky business.

We need to stop offshore drilling until oil companies can clean up their oil spills without poisoning people, wildlife, oceans and coastlines.

Our Solutions:

©Julie Dermansky
©Julie Dermansky

Legal Action

On January 30, 2020, ALERT with its allies filed a lawsuit to force the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to finalize its rules governing use of chemical dispersants in oil spill response.

  • The National Contingency Plan was last updated 26 years and uses outdated science to justify expedited and unlimited use of toxic dispersants.
  • The plan fails to implement inclusion of local government and citizens, as required by law, to combat government and industry complacency.
  • The plan fails to take into account unconventional oil that sinks (tar sands dilbit) or explodes (fracked gas and oil).

Citizen Action

We want the EPA to update the entire National Contingency Plan and keep it updated, but we need your help.

Call EPA. Demand that EPA finalize the rules governing dispersant use in 2020. Demand that EPA stop offshore drilling until it has updated the entire National Contingency Plan with 21st-century science and technology.
Call your Governor. Demand that the state revoke preauthorization of hazardous chemical dispersants!
Engage your local city council or Tribal government. Get local support for Local Emergency Planning Committees and Citizens’ Advisory Councils to build local capacity to prepare and protect first responders and citizens during oil-chemical disasters.
Call your Congressional delegation. Ask that Congress authorize funding through the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund for local government and citizens to support building local capacity to engage in oil spill preparation and response.
Download our Advocate Toolkit below to get started.
©Julie Dermansky
©Julie Dermansky

The Advocate Toolkit.

Know the facts with our quick and easy-to-understand Fact Sheet

Submit a resolution in just a few clicks with our Resolution Template for Tribal Councils

Submit a resolution in just a few clicks with our Resolutions Template for City Councils

Use our sample letters to contact the EPA, your congressional delegates and your state governor

More ways you can help the campaign.

Watch our Tuesday live streams on Youtube

Meet oil spill survivors and scientists, hear their stories – and their solutions. Every Tuesday in April at 10 am PST.

Feature our campaign in your newsletter or blog

Use our #WhatsThePlanEPA Campaign talking points and graphics to engage your community. Email [email protected] for resources and support.

Share our social posts on Twitter and Facebook

Follow us on Twitter @AlertProjectOrg and Facebook @alertproject and share our posts to engage more people in more communities and states. 

Donate to help us meet our fundraising goal

Our goal is to raise $20,000 to support our legal action, community trainings and public education. Can you help us reach our goal? Every bit helps!


I stand in solidarity with oil spill survivors to demand accountability and system change. It is time for us to hold the U.S. government accountable for the harm it has inflicted upon its citizens during oil-chemical disasters – and to DO NO MORE harm.

Media, lawyers and the medical community: here's what you need to know.

Help connect the dots between oil-chemical exposures and long-term illness and disease

Find out what really happened during the "clean up" ...

One month of action in April.

Join us in remembering our nation’s three largest oil disasters – the 31st memorial of the Exxon Valdezoil spill in Alaska and the 10th memorials of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico and the Enbridge pipeline tar sands oil spill into the Kalamazoo River, Michigan.

Our new campaign #WhatsThePlanEPA is three-fold – litigation, advocacy and community organizing. We have filed a lawsuit against the EPA over rules governing use of toxic dispersants. But we need YOU to work with us and demand change in your own community and state.

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