A chemical dispersant is a kind of "spill-treating agent" (or "STA") that is designed to break up an oil slick and dilute the oil by mixing it into the water. A chemical dispersant isn't truly a clean-up tool -- it doesn't take any spilled oil out of the environment, and by the time a dispersant is applied, it's already too late to save most life forms in the vicinity of the spill.
In the wake of the 2010 BP Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico, our government needs to make changes to our outdated liability regime. Currently, the Canadian taxpayer is liable for offshore oil spills in the Arctic. Under current law, an oil company is responsible for damages up to $40 million of absolute liability, regardless of fault or negligence. Beyond the $40 million, it is either Canadian taxpayers or the company paying, depending on fault. Why are we providing public insurance for oil companies? We do not provide public insurance for homeowners in the case of a fire, or car owners in the case of a motor vehicle accident.