RI researcher questions chemicals used to break up Gulf oil spill

Providence, R.I. – A Rhode Island researcher is raising questions about chemicals used to break up the Gulf oil spill.

David Smith, associate dean of the School of Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island, believes that the government's decision to use nearly 2 million gallons of untested oil dispersants could yield long term environmental damage in the Gulf.

He says now that the chemicals have been released into the water the focus should be on tracking their impact on the ecosystem to learn how to safely cope with similar crises in the future.

"The real concern," he says, "is are we going to commit now the resources that are necessary to learn from this experiment that we did in order to really understand the consequences of our actions there."

Smith testified before an environmental subcommittee in the U.S. Senate yesterday.