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today's developments:

the chicago tribune reports:

Rebuffing bipartisan pressure from members of Congress, the Bush administration's top environmental regulator on Tuesday declined to stop the BP refinery in northwest Indiana from dumping more pollution into Lake Michigan.

Stephen Johnson, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, said he saw nothing wrong with the permit Indiana regulators awarded in June to BP, the first company in years allowed to increase the amount of toxic chemicals pumped into the Great Lakes.

thinking better of their tuesday statement, the epa tried to explain it's support to polluting lake michigan as a technicality:

EPA will ask BP to offset pollution

Insisting that they cannot stop BP from dumping more toxic waste into Lake Michigan, federal officials will instead try to persuade the oil company on Wednesday to finance other projects that would help clean up the lake.

the ap reports on the meeting that the epa hosted today:

Elected officials and environmentalists meeting in Chicago on Wednesday roundly blasted a decision by Indiana to permit an oil refinery to dump more pollutants into Lake Michigan.

Many attending the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-hosted forum say the planned discharge by the BP oil refinery in Whiting, Indiana amounts to the most serious environmental threat to Lake Michigan in decades.

U.S. Rep. Rahm Emanuel says he believes the permit granted to BP is in clear violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

at this meeting, the epa presented seven ways bp could help:

Finance projects that reduce pollution from other companies that discharge into the Grand Calumet River or Lake Michigan.

Divert all or some of the refinery's wastewater to nearly municipal treatment plants. The Hammond Sanitary District, East Chicago Sanitary District and Gary Sanitary District are options.

Pay for sewer upgrades in neighboring towns to keep sewage and storm water out of Lake Michigan.

Set aside money to filter pollution that seeps into the lake. Projects could include wetlands, shoreline restoration or storm-water retention ponds.

Make additional upgrades at the refinery's water treatment plant to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into Lake Michigan.

Spend more money to dredge contaminated muck from the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal.

Join Indiana to pay for other projects that remove contaminated sediment in the Grand Calumet River.

CBS2 has coverage of the meeting online.

a number of good points have been made here:

  • why has epa signed off on the permit when the clean water act prohibits any decline in water quality, even when limits on pollution discharges are met?
  • why did indiana exempt bp from meeting stringent mercury limits for at least the next five years?  the refinery currently releases 2 pounds of the toxic metal into the lake every year, according to federal documents.  if the strict standard were met, the refinery's discharge would be reduced to 8/100ths of a pound.
  • why is the epa abandoning its stated goal of "virtually eliminating" pollution in the great lakes?  for 30 years, the states around lake michigan have been implementing the clean water act to clean up lake michigan.  there had been general agreement that when it comes to this valuable resource, we should pollute less, not more.

chicago mayor richard daley has threatened to sue bp if it follows through on its plans to pollute lake michigan.  the source of our drinking water shouldn't be treated as if it's a toilet...

Originally posted to bored now on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 06:17 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  This is insane. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, junta0201

    ...federal officials will instead try to persuade the oil company on Wednesday to finance other projects that would help clean up the lake.

    Let BP pollute, then 'try to persuade' them to help remediate pollution. Only in Bush's America could this be seen as a sensible policy.

    There are, in every age, new errors to be rectified, and new prejudices to be opposed. -Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

    by slksfca on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 06:26:37 PM PDT

  •  Hopefully the locals can stop it, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, palachia

    since the feds sure as sh*t won't.  I figure a daily fine of $50M dollars is fair if BP goes through with this plan (this is roughly their daily earnings according to their market cap and P/E ratio, was too lazy to actually look at their sheet).  Although I'm sure there are a lot of hurdles, since the plant is in Indiana, while Michigan, Wisconsin, and to a lesser extent Illinois have the most shoreline, and I'm guessing if mayor Daley sues BP it would have to be in federal court

    "Always listen to experts. They'll tell you what can't be done, and why. Then do it." - LL

    by demotarian on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 06:38:30 PM PDT

  •  Water, water everywhere... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, Captain Janeway

    And none of it safe to drink. Well, this will make a nice run up to the coming war with Canada. Hey - we'll have to invade them. They are going to have all that oil after the arctic ice cap melts.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 06:40:28 PM PDT

  •  EPA is now a rogue agency. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, Captain Janeway, junta0201

    PEER (peer.org) has a story today about EPA's "cooperation" with industry.  It has become damned near useless.  PEER has done a continuing series of stories including the continuing destruction of the research libraries.  Thanks for posting this.

    Fear will keep the local systems in line. -Grand Moff Tarkin Survivor Left Blogistan

    by boran2 on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 06:50:10 PM PDT

  •  Rather than offer all these offsets, how about (0+ / 0-)

    NOT dumping into the lake in the first place. Our governments at work, idiots.

  •  Region 5 EPA phone number (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SarahLee, palachia

    1 800 621 8431.

    If there is a better way to contact, please let us know.

    •  thanks for the number... (0+ / 0-)

      i will post it locally...

      •  You're welcome and clarification: 312-353-2000 (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        junta0201

        is for states outside of Region 5.  This is taken directly from the EPA's website.

        I never use all the minutes on my cell phone so here's a good use for them.

        The "P" in EPA stands for "Protection" not "Profits", so we need to remind them in polite but firm terms.  I say polite in this case because whoever fields the calls did not make the decision, so our anger should not be directed at them. I may say something along the lines of... I am calling about the BP pollution issue in Lake Michigan...I am outraged that the EPA apparently cannot even maintain an appearance of protecting the environment....I am asking  you to make sure that whoever made this outrageous decision get this message.... This is not what I am paying the EPA for with my tax dollars...something like that.

  •  Tag fixed (0+ / 0-)

    "Mayor Daley" changed to "Richard Daley"

    Tag guidelines instruct that when names are used both the first and last names should be included (with no titles), and in cases like the George Bushes - the middle initials are essential.

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  •  My head is hurting from the insanity. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    palachia, junta0201

    You know of course that BP has no intention of stopping until their bottom line is affected to the degree that complying improves to said Bottom Line.
    To which the only thing that will stop BP besides the Federal Gov't(Yeah in 2009), the Sate of Illinois, or consumer's outrage in the form of Boycott or Possible covert actions against stations. Having Said that I'm against violence in this situation, but would like to see someone organize a "rolling boycott" or some type of "Sit in" and just shut down the top 10 dispensing BP gas stations by filling the stations with Cars that purchase 2 cents worth of gas, then proceed to clean their windshields, check tire pressure, stretch,make new friends with the people in the next pump: then let the next car owner/Lake user to the same.
    Thats just my $.02

    feel free to send this idea to anyone that likes to organize these types of events

    A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.- Albert Einstein

    by bldr on Wed Aug 15, 2007 at 07:38:34 PM PDT

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