Sunday, July 15, 2007

This is why we need environmental regulations

Chemical spillBP to dump more toxins in Lake Michigan

WHITING, Ind., July 14 (UPI) -- An enormous BP oil refinery in Indiana is planning to pour significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, it was reported.

The move by the British Petroleum oil refinery of Whiting, Ind., runs counter to years of efforts to clean up the U.S. Great Lakes, The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday.

State regulators exempted BP from environmental laws to pave the way for a $3.8 billion expansion to let BP refine heavier Canadian crude oil. Regulators justified the move, in part, by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

BP, which aggressively markets itself as environmentally friendly, already is one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes.

Under the new state water permit, BP can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan every day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish and the sludge is dense with heavy metals, the newspaper reported.

The refinery still will meet federal water pollution guidelines, but state and federal officials acknowledge it is the first time in years a company has been approved to dump more toxic waste into Lake Michigan.

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