BP screws the Midwest

I hope the legislators got a really nice dinner out of this deal. In balance, I'd say promising 80 alleged jobs vs. the the governmentally sanctioned ability to dump ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan is a sweet deal for an evil company. The so-called 80 jobs are probably Mc-Jobs, going to the legislators kids. A total travesty.

self portrait with coal cooling tower that looks like 3 Mile Island
(photo taken at the Indiana Dunes National Park)

BP gets break on dumping in lake | Chicago Tribune
The massive BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana, is planning to dump significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.

Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.
Under BP's new state water permit, the refinery—already one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes—can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals.

...federal and state officials acknowledge this marks the first time in years that a company has been allowed to dump more toxic waste into Lake Michigan.

BP, which aggressively markets itself as an environmentally friendly corporation, is

full of shite, and despicable.

BP can process more than 400,000 barrels of crude oil daily at the plant, first built in 1889 by John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. Total production is expected to grow by 15 percent by the time the expansion project is finished in 2011.

In sharp contrast to the greenways and parks that line Lake Michigan in Chicago, a string of industrial behemoths lie along the heavily polluted southern shore just a few miles away. The steady flow of oil, grease and chemicals into the lake from steel mills, refineries and factories—once largely unchecked—drew national attention that helped prompt Congress to pass the Clean Water Act during the early 1970s.

Paul Higginbotham, chief of the water permits section at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, said that when BP broached the idea of expanding the refinery, it sought permission to pump twice as much ammonia into the lake. The state ended up allowing an amount more than the company currently discharges

I wonder what prompted this change of heart? I doubt the so-called 80 jobs really was the balance-tipper, more likely the equivalent of 12 months salary deposited in a suitcase.


The request to dump more chemicals into the lake ran counter to a provision of the Clean Water Act that prohibits any downgrade in water quality near a pollution source even if discharge limits are met. To get around that rule, state regulators are allowing BP to install equipment that mixes its toxic waste with clean lake water about 200 feet offshore.

Actively diluting pollution this way by creating what is known as a mixing zone is banned in Lake Michigan under Indiana law. Regulators granted BP the first-ever exemption.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been pushing to eliminate mixing zones around the Great Lakes on the grounds that they threaten humans, fish and wildlife

but also turned a blind eye, thinking nobody would notice.

“This is exactly the type of trade-off that we can no longer allow,” wrote Shannon Sabel of West Lafayette, Ind. “Possible lower gas prices (I'll believe that when I see it!) against further contamination of our water is as shortsighted as it is irrational.”

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This page contains a single entry by swanksalot published on July 14, 2007 4:20 PM.

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