Illinois Ups The Pressure On BP - Looking At Indiana-Issued Air Permit

Yesterday we commented about The Chicago Sun Times taking an editorial position in favor of a BP fuel boycott in the Chicago, Illinois area, offered in response to more liberal wastewater discharge permit conditions, granted by neighboring Indiana to a BP refinery.

The boycott-BP stance seems a metaphor for broader changes now being seen in the national political atmosphere, with the management of shared environmental resources getting serious attention and urban newspapers wanting the green, urban demographic to take a bite of their subscription services. That's us TreeHuggers.

What a lovely scene now unfolds before us: managing editors of big city papers pressuring reporters to take a pro-business slant, while subscription managers beg for stories that actual customers want to read about, that align with their green values. Gotta love that free market.

Back to the permits thing. The "challenge and response" scenario begun a few months ago, when the State of Indiana issued an expanded Lake Michigan wastewater discharge permit (see early posts here and also here). Since then, responses and further challenges have flared, back, and forth, across state lines.

Reminder to politicians and executives: pollution knows no border; and, good treatment makes good neighbors.

Keeping the pressure on BP and Indiana, Illinois is now challenging the basis of an earlier air permit issuance. We'd guess US-EPA, which is responsible for delegating permitting authority to states, will need to engage with both the water and air permit disputes at the highest level - just in time for national elections. Interesting times to come.

"WHITING, Ind. (AP) - Government officials and environmentalists in Illinois have asked for an administrative review of an air quality variance that Indiana granted BP America for the company's Whiting oil refinery.

That variance would allow BP to continue to emit the same amount of tiny particles into the air as it currently does rather than cutting its emissions by half, as would be required to meet new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency gas emission estimates.

Because the EPA doubled its estimates of how much particulate matter is emitted from gas, BP would have to reduce its emissions by about 50 percent to comply with its current limits.

The City of Chicago, the Illinois Attorney General, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law and Policy Center filed a petition Friday asking the Indiana Office of Environmental Adjudication to review the variance issued July 5 by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management."

Via:: Chicago Tribune, Illinois officials seek review of BP air quality variance Image credit:: Whiting Refinery, by Justin Steel, for New York Times