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Hawaii state offers 20,000 gallons of oil spill dispersant to Gulf states

U.S. Air Force chemical dispersing C-130 aircraft from the 910th Airlift Wing at Youngstown-Warren Air Reserve Station, Ohio, drops an oil dispersing chemical into the Gulf of Mexico as part of the Deepwater Horizon Response effort, May 5, 2010. Photo courtes of U.S. Air Force

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The Mississippi Delta is at image center, and the oil slick is a silvery swirl to the right. The oil slick may be particularly obvious because it is occurring in the sunlit area, where the mirror-like reflection of the Sun off the water gives the Gulf of Mexico a washed-out look. Image courtesy of NASA taken April 25, 2010

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has been asked by Hawai‘i’s Clean Islands Council to transfer 20,000 gallons of the oil spill dispersant COREX 9500 for use on the Gulf of Mexico oil rig release. The chemical dispersant is used to break up and disperse oil that rises to the surface of the water endangering wildlife. The Clean Islands Council is a consortium made up of petroleum related industry representatives. Arrangements are being made to ship the dispersant on a Matson vessel to the mainland, subject to an agreement with British Petroleum (BP), which could be reached in the next 48 to 72 hours. The dispersants will then be driven to the site for use.

BP will take full responsibility for all costs related to transferring the material and will provide inkind replacement to the state as soon as possible. The estimated value of the dispersant is $600,000.

“Our sister states and agencies in the Gulf desperately need help fighting the growing oil spill, and though we are far away, we are happy to provide some neighborly help,” said Laurence Lau, DOH Deputy Director for Environmental Health. “Days count and sufficient supplies of dispersant can be difficult to acquire. We are reserving 10,000 gallons of oil dispersant at home for any emergency situations here, just in case.”

The Hawai‘i State Department of Health is the lead state agency for oil and chemical spill emergency response. The DOH Hazard Evaluation and Emergency Response Office works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Clean Islands Council for response and clean up of oil spills affecting Hawaii’s coastal waters. As the lead state agency, the DOH provides major assets and skilled personnel available 24/7 to plan for, train, drill and act on reducing the unintended environmental damage caused by chemical and oil spills across the state.

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