Three steps forward, one step back - BP can dump more waste into Lake Michigan

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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