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Aug 1, 2010 3:37 AM

New questions arise on dispersant use in oil spill

NEW ORLEANS (AP) The Environmental Protection Agency says BP cut its use of chemical dispersants in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill after being ordered to do so.

The EPA statement Sunday comes a day after Rep. Edward Markey, D-Mass., released a letter saying that "BP often carpet bombed the ocean with these chemicals and the Coast Guard allowed them to do it."

The chemicals help break up oil, but their effect on aquatic life remains unknown.

BP says it worked "hand in hand" with the Coast Guard and EPA on dispersant use since the spill began in April.

The EPA says in a statement that it ordered BP in late May to cut use of chemical dispersants by three-quarters. It says BP had nearly met that threshold by mid-July.

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