Sunday, July 22, 2007

Daley, Other Key Mayors Protest Oil Company's Lake Michigan Pollution

Chicago's Mayor Richard Daley, Racine's Gary Becker and Toronto's David Miller signed a letter published in The Chicago Tribune slamming Indiana's approval for vastly permitted ammonia and sludge dumping by British Petroleum into Lake Michigan.

This blog posted information about the decision to expand the dumping here.

Lake Michigan doesn't benefit from a willful daily dose of three tons of these dangerous pollutants; these mayors, whose communities and many others that draw drinking water from the lake, have every right to be upset.

Furthermore, Indiana's decision to allow BP's refinery this contemptible action illustrates why Great Lakes states have the commonsense duty to monitor each other's usage of Great Lakes waters.

When abuses or poor management occur, joint attention and solutions are required.

Said the Mayors, in part:

" is not in anyone's interest to facilitate expansion at the expense of our region's greatest natural resource and economic engine -- the Great Lakes."

That concept is at the foundation of the pending Great Lakes Compact, an eight- state agreement, with two Canadian provinces in an advisory role, to supervise large withdrawals of water from what is the world's largest supply of fresh surface waters.

Some legislators and business leaders in Waukesha County miss this point entirely, opposing Wisconsin's approval of the Compact - - even though it will protect Wisconsin's fair access to Great Lakes water and allow Wisconsin also to monitor and approve new large uses in the other states, too.

Without a working Compact, communities from New York state to Minnesota could divert Great Lakes water without scientific and legal standards - - imagine a thousands straws pulling water from the Great Lakes, only those straws are intake pipes, moving hundreds of millions of gallons of water daily out of the lakes - - disregarding its reasonable use, or mandated return to preserve the levels of the source.

Wisconsin's public officials need to join Mayor Daley's effort to stop British Petroleum's outrageous plan to knowingly pollute Lake Michigan.

But that's only protecting the waters, as they are. It's important, but covers half the equation.

Wisconsin residents need to pressure legislators and editorial boards, urging our state to adopt a strong Great Lakes Compact that manages the waters usage.

That means a program for Wisconsin requiring conservation of all the waters in the Great Lakes ecosystem - - and requiring region-wide high standards for the waters' use, along with guarantees that as much diverted water is returned to its source.

That will protect and preserve the Great Lakes - - precisely the opposite of what BP will be allowed to do with its refinery's discharge into Lake Michigan in northern Indiana.

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