Saturday, September 22, 2007

Public Relations Firm Clarifies BP's Plans For Lake Michigan

The public relations firm GolinHarris, on behalf of British Petroleum, has sent me clarifying information after reading an op-ed I wrote for The Capital Times about the recent uproar over a plan by BP's Whiting, IN refinery to add more so-called "suspended solids" and ammonia to Lake Michigan.

After the uproar (protests, petitions, a US House of Representatives resolution, pledges of boycotts, hostile local media and the like), BP said it would not use the expanded pollution permission granted to it by the State of Indiana.

Instead, BP said it would proceed with an expansion to the refinery's capacity refinery using waste treatment methods that did not include discharges to Lake Michigan.

I am surprised and disappointed that the good people at GolinHarris don't know the difference between a letter to the editor, and a column, but anyway...the entire e-text is below.

(NOTE: Even if the treated wastewater BP says its refinery produces is 99.9+% "ordinary water," I think I'll pass on a taste test.)

Email Text:

"Oil Refinery Expansion Raises Lots of Questions"
Thu, 20 Sep 2007 16:51:56 -0400
"Dananay, Jason (CHI-GHI)"

Dear James.

We have read with interest your letter to the editor entitled, “Oil Refinery Expansion Raises Lots of Questions,” which appeared in the September 10, 2007 edition of The Capital Times.

We would like to provide clarification on some details in your letter and provide you with additional information on the environmental efforts at BP’s Whiting Refinery.

In your letter to the editor, you stated, “An effort by British Petroleum Co. to expand its Great Lakes refinery in Whiting, Ind., on Lake Michigan led to widespread criticism and BP's retreat from its plan to increase water pollution from expanded refining of Canadian tar sand oil. BP said it would continue with the Indiana refining expansion, but treat the additional toxic wastes on site.”

BP’s Whiting Refinery does not and will not dump waste toxins into Lake Michigan . The water that BP returns to Lake Michigan is just that – water. It has been treated and is more than 99.9 percent ordinary water.

BP recognizes that it is a steward of the lake, and we are committed to meeting the growing energy needs of the community while minimizing the environmental impact of our operations.

We are balancing the challenge of meeting the increasing demand for energy with our environmental responsibilities - and we believe it is possible to achieve both goals.

BP is making investments in the U.S. to provide heat, light and mobility – all which are critical to sustaining the standard of living we have come to expect. For example, in addition to the refinery modernization, which will increase Whiting’s motor fuel production by as much as 620 million gallons per year, BP is investing billions of dollars in alternatives like solar, wind and biofuels.

In order to provide information on the Whiting refinery modernization to the media and the general public, we have developed a website on the project. We hope that you will access this site at You can also learn more about BP’s commitment to the environment by visiting


Jason Dananay

Jason Dananay
Account Supervisor
111 E. Wacker Dr.
Chicago , IL 60601
t 312.729.4221
f 312.729.4027

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