BP, British Petroleum is responsible for what amounts to a major health concern to the residence of Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin. An unknown amount oil was spilled into lake Michigan by the Tar Sand processing plant in Whiting, Indiana. The presence of Pet-Coke produced by the Whiting plant has been producing cancerous dust storms and is a continuing public health menace for residents of Chicago's Southeast Side. This disaster also comes closely after a decision by the Illinois Pollution Board to not regulate Pet Coke.
Pet Coke is produced in massive amounts by BP in the processing of tar into oil, and Tar Sands from Canada and BP will presumably be a big player in the processing of a daily 800,000 barrels of crude from Alberta's oil sands, through the XL Pipeline and 5 other pipelines that will amount to at least another 1,600,000 barrels of crude a day regardless of if the XL Pipeline is approved or not.
"For example, the Whiting refinery, in the US, identified the need to reduce the level of suspended solids being discharged from the site waste water treatment plant to protect Lake Michigan’s water quality and comply with regulations. Suspended solids are particles that are small enough not to pass through filters used to separate them from the water, and are used as one indicator of water quality. Objectives were set for improvement, and action was taken to improve biological treatment and filtration systems to reduce the level of suspended solids in the waste water."
This is the same plant that "For nearly six years, the refinery emitted cancer-causing benzene at its wastewater treatment plant without proper air pollution control equipment," Gitte Laasby explained, "In 2008, BP totaled 95 tons of benzene waste — nearly 16 times the amount allowed, according to the EPA. Similar violations took place between 2003 and 2008."A Whiting Resident told NPR when discussing the Whiting expansion:
"We have a hundred years of industrial legacy that is meant we are sitting on the most polluted waterway in the country (Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal) , it means our land is considered the most polluted and our air shed is the 9th most polluted in the country. The BP project adds to that complexity and the concentration of industry right here."
According to Forbes, Oil Giant, "Enbridge hopes to be bringing 2 million bpd (or seventy three billion gallons) of oil sands crude into the U.S. to feed refineries like BP’s Whiting, Indiana plant that have undergone costly overhauls to be able to break down the heavy crude." According to Hydrocarbons Technology,
"The project will increase the useful life of the refinery, extending the scope of its processing capabilities to heavier crudes from Canada, providing a more secure source of crude, and improving the supply of petrol, diesel and aviation fuel to the Midwest, increasing production by 15%."
What is even more troubling, then the fact that this disaster occurred after renovations is the dangers presented by chemicals are used as dispersant and coagulants; known carcinogens, which will undoubtedly become part of Chicago's water supply.
As Americans, we wake up to chemical spill after chemical spill caused from our gluttony of oil. A new report from the United Nations and the IPCC again underscores climate change is real and getting worse. This spill provides an even greater concern for renewable energy, not 20 to 60 years in the future, but yesterday. This is underscored by a recent report from Canada that underscores how unprepared the Great Lakes are for a Oil Spill.
The New York Times reported two weeks ago, "Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Company in New York. “They have been working hard to lift the sanctions, and they immediately turned that into something positive.” Was that ban lift appropriate from their repeated crimes? Many say no.
According to Reuters, "The Whiting refinery is the primary focus of BP's U.S. refining strategy to use only plants in the northern United States that have in easy access to Canadian crude oil. BP sold plants in Texas and California last year" as part of the strategy to profit off of the XL Pipeline and Koch's Political import. As we continue as a city to to fail to utilize renewable resources, we are collectively destroying our resources, lake, air and drinking water for a profit motive and high market projections for Tar Sand Salesmen like BP, Koch and Enbridge. Post-Tribune:
"The modernization allows BP Whiting to process as much as 85 percent heavy sweet crude, compared to 20 percent capacity before the project began. Previously, the refinery processed the more expensive light, sweet crude, but much of its new supply will be oil-sands crude from Alberta, Canada."
For right now, it appears that BP hopes their luck continues. No reports have yet surfaced that oil has reached the 68th street Freshwater Intake, which is a mere 8 miles away. BP is reporting that wind is blowing the oil to shore. It is unknown how BP plans to collect the remainder of the oil before it reaches the water supply, after the wind changes.