Feds approve undersea use of chemical dispersants in fight against growing oil slick

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Federal regulators have approved the use of a technique to fight the ballooning oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico by shooting chemical dispersants 5,000 feet beneath the sea.

The chemicals break apart the oil and keep it from reaching the surface.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said Friday that three previous tests were done on the technique at the leak site. She says scientists with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration got enough data to approve its use.

Landry says the "unprecedented" deep-sea injections have not yet been used, aside from the tests.

Louisiana Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine says federal regulators dismissed state worries about the chemicals by giving approval. Levine says there is virtually no science that supports the use of the chemicals.

The EPA did not immediately comment.