Months after it's nearest competitor, The Chicago Tribune, began its investigative reporting series on the BP wastewater story, the Chicago Sun Times, a paper not exactly known for pro-environmental regulatory stances has suggested a 'boycott BP' effort to get the company's attention. Talk about a flip in editorial profile (as pictured intentionally). A sure sign that 'the times, they are a changing.'
"If BP insists on dumping more pollutants into our lake, it's time for us to stop pumping its gas into our tanks. We're calling for an all-out boycott of BP gas. Maybe then, BP will realize that hollow promises aren't good enough for customers. Maybe then, they'll be ready "to commit" to keeping Lake Michigan clean."
"At this point, the only clear message BP is sending is that it wants to have its cake and eat it too. BP executives want their company to be known as the greenest -- as suggested by its logo, meant to resemble a sunflower and show its commitment to the environment. But they also want to dump in our lakes. They can't have it both ways..."
We remind those readers who feel puzzled over what the flap is about that serious issues are at stake. One is precedent. Another is that more ammonia means more blue green algae in the drinking water supply of Chicago. Just as importantly, sludge (what some papers have called it) or "suspended solids" - a parameter in the disputed BP discharge permit - is a surrogate indicator for whatever other metals and organics constitute those "solids". The real concerns, then, are what's in those solids: heavy metals like mercury, poly-aromatic hydrocarbons, and oxygen demand, for examples. In other words, its not just mud, it's crud.
The elephant in the room that no one is talking about: BP is a foreign-owned company. If a foreign citizen talked about dumping ammonia in Lake Michigan, near Chicago's drinking water intake, and was overheard by a Transportation Security Administration employee.... You know how that would go.