Lawmakers request BP stop using controversial firm in public health response

Reps. Lois Capps (D-Calif.) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) on Tuesday sent a letter to BP CEO Tony Hayward asking him to stop employing the private contractor Center for Toxicology and Environmental Health (CTEH) in its public health response. 

The lawmakers demand that: 

• BP remove CTEH from its current role in public health monitoring; 

• hire an independent toxicology center; and

• release the methodology used and all data collected by CTEH to the federal government so it can verify the findings.

The letter cites a recent Greenwire article listing cases that indicate "a history ... of releasing findings defending the corporate interests that employ them," according to the lawmakers. These include improper monitoring of air quality at a Tennessee Valley Authority coal ash site and failing to use accurate sampling techniques to determine soil contamination in a post-Hurricane Katrina refinery spill in Chalmette, La.

“By using CTEH, BP is putting its own bottom line ahead of the public’s health," Capps said in a statement. "Obtaining accurate and trustworthy data is critical to launching an effective public health response. BP needs to fire CTEH and hire a firm without such a questionable track record." 

The letter is dated June 25 but was sent Tuesday, according to a press release from Capps's office.