Wednesday, August 01, 2007

BP Oil: now killing Lake Michigan


From the Chicago Sun Times:
BP has spent millions promoting itself as the greenest oil giant. But soon, the company plans to start dumping 1,600 pounds of ammonia and nearly 2½ tons of contaminated sludge each and every day into Lake Michigan from its refinery in Whiting, Ind., a mile from where 11 cities get their drinking water.
BP says its discharge is 99.9 percent water. But this merely dilutes the truth about what all those total tons of pollution will do to our lake. Ammonia is toxic to fish, frogs and other amphibians, and it can cause oxygen-gobbling algae blooms that smother aquatic life. Toxic metals in the sludge -- which likely include mercury -- will accumulate in the tissues of fish and anything (or anyone) eating them.
The company, which posted more than $6 billion in profits last quarter alone, could easily eliminate the hazardous discharges. But BP told Indiana regulators that it didn't have space to install the treatment equipment. And nobody from the state, it seems, wants to press them for an alternative solution.
Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 327-26 to pass a bipartisan resolution led by Illinois Democrat Rahm Emanuel and Michigan Republican Vernon Ehlers condemning the Indiana permit. Mayors in Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan are up in arms. Gov. Blagojevich is considering legal action. And Sen. Richard Durbin and others say lawmakers may go after BP's air pollution permits if all else fails.
Despite the swelling avalanche of protest, neither BP nor the state of Indiana seems to be getting the message. Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels -- a former top official in the Bush administration -- has ramped up his support for the company plan.

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