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Chuck Grassley's Oil Spill Solution Includes Using Beer Ingredients To Clean Slick

Chuck Grassley Oil Spill

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 06/10/10 11:28 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 05:45 PM ET

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) thinks he has just the idea to clean-up the massive BP oil spill continuing to devastate the Gulf Coast: deploy ingredients found in beer to absorb the oil.

Grassley offered his suggestion on how to remedy the oil spill on a conference call with reporters earlier this week.

"I think that there's alternatives to soaking up oil that have not been used yet," Grassley said. "There's a process for making beer -- I don't know if it's the yeast or what it is in making beer. You can put those microscopic things on oil and they die, and all you've got is some methane gas left."

Grassley did not indicate whether he shared his beer-based idea with President Obama.

Juli Weiner at Vanity Fair notes there's some underlying science underpinning Grassley's idea:

Anna Louise Corke, a research scientist who studies cell biology, points out that while the beer-making process has nothing to do with oil, and yeast produce carbon dioxide, not methane, there is new research that suggests that "adding nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to the beaches can speed up the ability of natural bacteria to break down oil," according to the blog ScienceInsider. Corke hypothesizes: "It might be that someone tried to explain this to him and used the yeast/beer thing as a metaphor and that's what he was able to remember."

Click here to listen to Grassley's remarks.

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