• Jul 17th 2007 at 3:27PM
  • 6
British Petroleum (now known as simply BP) has found a way to dodge around a Great Lakes anti-pollution law. The law, written in 1970, set a limit on the amount of waste sludge and ammonia that could be dumped into Lake Michigan, as the level of pollution in the lake was getting way out of hand. A clause in the law stated that if a company was dumping at an amount under the limit, they could not increase their pollution, even if it was still under the primary limit.

Well, due to the extra-crude oil from Canada, BP is now processing at its Whiting, Indiana refinery, they don't know what to do with all the extra sludge (concentrated heavy metals) and ammonia (which causes algae blooms that kill fish). They therefore managed to get a water permit to pump 35 percent more sludge and 54 percent more ammonia into the lake, right up to the limit set by the '70s pollution law.

The refinery in question has had a large expansion added to handle the new process and needed capacity, though the original refinery - much of which is still in operation - was built in 1889 by the big man John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. Nifty as that is, the fact of the matter is that just three miles southeast of the Illinois/Indiana border, BP has a pipeline from the refinery to the lake 200 feet off shore, with an agitator at the bottom to mix the daily 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge with the water. Is that worth the supposed 80 jobs this new permit has enabled BP to create, which supposedly is what justified the exemption? Sounds [dead] fishy to me.

[Source: Chicago Tribune]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      #4, calm down. No one in the comments questioned the role of oil in the modern industrialized world. The pollution is not an all or nothing issue as you seem to conclude.

      BP could find other methods of disposal, including using a hazardous waste disposal company to remove the waste and cleanly incinerate the waste, without dumping directly into the lake, and they could find ways to alter their refining processes to reduce the byproducts altogether, without sacrificing jobs. BTW, implementing these ideas actually GENERATE jobs for people, for those in the hazardous waste disposal field and for engineers who increase the efficiency of the operation.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Disgusting. I had never heard of this before but I will certainly be looking into it more.
      • 8 Months Ago
      They shouldn't be allowed to dump anything.
      • 8 Months Ago
      We need to consider dumping the U.S. Congress into Lake Michigan. My guess is the fish and other living organisms will have trouble digesting a sudden dumping of cowardice into their eco system, but we all need to make sacrifices.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Is it worth the supposed 80 jobs?

      I wonder what your answer would be if it was..YOURS!!

      "They shouldn't be allowed to dump anything..."

      Do YOU drive a car...or like electricity "magically" coming from your wall socket, you also believe that gasoline comes from the gas pump...

      Get real "ENVIRONMENTALISTS" we NEED these "evil" polluters or life as we know wouldn't exist. Do all of you ride bicycles to work, not use A/C & NOT go on vacation...yah right
      • 8 Months Ago
      We should ask scientists and engineers what we could do to recycle sludge and ammonia. Maybe just
      dump that in empty crude oil wells.
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