Chicago Gets BP To Reopen Lake Michigan Discharge Permit Discussion


There's a right way to negotiate a refinery wastewater discharge permit limit that affects huge numbers of people around a resource of international prominence. You get all the stakeholders around a table, state the goal, examine the trade-offs, and put the best ideas for a solution forward. At the end of the meeting, participants agree to meet again and report on the issues outstanding and progress made. Because people need fuel and water and aquatic life and tourism and boating and white sand beaches.

Chicago's Mayor Daley and his staff, the USEPA Regional Office people, BP, and others, deserve credit for agreeing to get together at last, even if the opportunity was created by controversy. It's a wonder that BP did not ask for such a meeting at the outset, being already a bit overdrawn on it's credibility account? Amazing how often corporations forget that being legally 'in the right' is less important than the 'red-faced test.'

"BP, which aggressively markets itself as an environmentally friendly corporation, sought to dump more ammonia and suspended solids into Lake Michigan as part of a $3.8 billion expansion that will enable the refinery to process more heavy Canadian crude oil. Officials justified the increase in part by noting that the project will create 80 permanent jobs and 2,000 construction jobs...Indiana regulators also exempted the company from meeting tough limits on mercury pollution for the next five years.""...Few in the meeting voiced support for an EPA proposal to offset the additional BP pollution with other projects that would help clean up Lake Michigan. The focus remained on the oil company and what it can do to meet the long-standing goal of eliminating pollution in the Great Lakes, the world's largest source of fresh surface water."

"..Chicago officials said they've found several technologies in use at other refineries that dramatically reduce ammonia and suspended solids. They pressed Elbert to explain how more water treatment equipment couldn't fit on a site as large as the Whiting refinery, a question the executive said he could not answer."

""The environment is a prominent part of BP's advertising," said Sadhu Johnston, Daley's deputy chief of staff for environmental initiatives. "We're sure they can make it a prominent part of their actions too.""

Via:: Chicago Tribune Image credit:: Whiting BP Refinery Wastewater Treatment Plant and Discharge to Lake Michigan, Google Earth Pro.

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