Tuesday, July 17, 2007

BP Allowed To Add More Pollution To Lake Michigan

The next time you see those ads for British Petroleum touting the company as "BP - - Beyond Petroleum," a phony rebranding of the oil giant as a green company, remember that BP has been awarded a new permit for its northern Indiana refinery to vastly increase daily dumping of ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan.

Altogether, BP will be allowed to drop about 3 tons of these contaminants into Lake Michigan everyday, constituting an increase in pollution that is already tolerated.

A more complete story from The Chicago Tribune is here.

The permission for more willful contamination of Lake Michigan allowed by the State of Indiana is a telling example of the mounting stresses placed on the Great Lakes, including invasive fish species carried in by ocean-going freighters, and runoff from municipal, industrial, construction, highway and agricultural sources.

It is in this context that the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources' encouragement of a diversion of water from Lake Michigan to New Berlin should be considered.

Instead of focusing on protecting the Great Lakes, the DNR is adding additional pressure to an already-stressed ecosystem.

Grant permission to New Berlin for its diversion, and it will be harder to say "no" to Waukesha, or other communities sure to line up in Waukesha County, Northern Illinois, Ohio and in other Great Lakes states, too.

And the more that the DNR enables diverters, or politically off-loads the decision-making nitty-gritty to potential water-supplying communities, like the City of Milwaukee, the more regulatory and conservationist high-ground Wisconsin sacrifices.

It would be hard for Wisconsin to muster up much outrage about bad process and insensitivity elsewhere in the Great Lakes region on water issues, or to criticize Indiana about its retreat on water quality near the BP refinery, when Wisconsin has been working behind the scenes to speed up diversions from Lake Michigan for Wisconsin communities.

Wisconsin and the other Great Lakes states need a coordinated approach to managing and protecting Great Lakes water.

And that consistency begins with adopting the Great Lakes Compact, and its conservation standards and processes.


Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy of your words jumps from the page.

You worry about BP dumping sludge in LM. What about MMSD dumping metric tons of sewage into it also? The problem is so bad that no one wants to be on LM shoreline on certain days. On top of that, MMSD is in bed with the DNR when it is time for fines to be assessed.

I'm not for New Berlin or Waukesha extracting LM water IF they will not return the water to LM.

You forget that Chicago has diverted vast amounts of LM water since around 1960. The case made it to the US Supreme Court so a precedent has been set.

The best bet would be to let New Berlin take the water then sue in federal court. First, the Compact will have to be signed and ratified before it can be taken to court. Now that is where your real problem is: you are too far too the left in your politics. That means people like me will never support your personal crusade to "save" Lake Michigan.

Mr Rowen, you are nothing more than a Leftist Oddball. Did you give Ed Garvey, another moronic oddball, the material in his opinion today? He, too, likes to savage the conservative people of Waukeha County.

Mark from Germantown

James Rowen said...

To Mark from Germantown; I haven't seen Garvey's work today, but I guess I'll read it now that you have suggested it.

I'm surprised you feel so obliged to read the writing of people you think are leftists and oddballs. Talk about being a glutton for punishment.

Anonymous said...

I went to the website MWRD.org Chicago Reclamation District and the president calls swhat BP is putting into the lake sludge. This is kind of strange when he runs the same type of facility as BP's and knows or atleast should know what sludge is. Let me say...water treatement plants do not dump sludge in the lake...that is called illegal. If BP is dumping so is every other water treatment facility...look at their data...I did and it opened my eyes.

Also look how the Chicago Reclamation district describes sludge... "Many area golf courses, sod farms, tollway banks and parks are green and fertile because of the rich mixture of sludge and soil. In Fulton County, Illinois, the District is reclaiming 15,000 acres of land which were left barren and ugly from years of strip mining for coal. By leveling the land and enriching the soil with nitrogen, phosphorus and other nutrients in the sludge, wasteland has been converted to fertile ground for agricultural uses. This program is called the Prairie Plan." http://www.mwrd.org/Processes/solid.htm

Kind of amazing...he makes it sound like sludge is a great product...makes you wonder who is telling truths and who is just slinging sludge.

I signed the petition and now I feel pretty much used by rhetoric. I am well educated. I guess I need to think some more. You let me down Tribune...you let me down Durbin...you let me down Emmanuel...you let me down my college buddies who convinced me to sign the hoopla.

Steve R. Chicago North Sider