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Safety crackdown needed on chemical response to oil spills on Reef

Mon 19 August 2013

The Australian Marine Conservation Society has called for an immediate moratorium on the use of CoRexit, a chemical used to disperse oil spills, following claims it can have devastating effects on people and wildlife. It is currently legal to use this chemical on oil spills on the Great Barrier Reef.

Felicity Wishart, the Great Barrier Reef campaign director, said use of the chemical should be stopped immediately because of the risk it posed to the sensitive environments in which it can be used.

“The report by 60 Minutes about the impact of the chemical used to clean up the BP Deep Water Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico was devastating,” Ms Wishart said.

“The program revealed that this is the same chemical used to clean up oil from the Shen Neng crash on the Great Barrier Reef in 2010.

“There should be an immediate halt on the use of this chemical until it is proven to be safe to human health and marine life.

“The report showed that this potentially dangerous chemical is regularly used on oil spills and is approved for use in Australia. We have to heed this warning before it is too late and it is used again in other parts of the Great Barrier Reef.

“If planned mining and port expansions proceed we will see thousands more ships going through the Reef, increasing the risk of an oil spill. It only takes one mistake.

“Australia’s is pursuing a thoughtless policy when it comes to protecting the Great Barrier Reef.

“The Great Barrier Reef is one of the wonders of the world, and it supports 60,000 tourism related jobs and a $6 billion dollar industry.

“One oil spill, one catastrophe could put all this at risk.

AMC Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart is available for interview.

Media contact

Jane Garcia 0434 489 533

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