Ask any Chicagoan and they’ll let you know that Lake Michigan is a big a part of what makes this city great. So, maybe this is what makes BP’s close by refinery in Whiting, IN so reviled.
The week of the Exxon Valdez catastrophe anniversary and per week after the Council of Canadians released a report highlighting the threat that tar sands oil imposes on the nice Lakes, BP did what it always does: crapped up Lake Michigan.
Yesterday, an undetermined quantity of oil made its way into the refinery’s water therapy unit and was dumped into the lake, mucking a half mile of shoreline with waxy residue.
BP Whiting is the supply of the massive mounds of petcoke at the moment burying parts of the Southeast Side of Chicago, a lot to the chagrin of neighbors who discover the oil refining waste at the sting of their yards and parks.
– Indiana recently put out draft water pollution permits that might have allowed the refinery to dump greater than sixteen-instances the federal limit of mercury straight into the Lake, which is a drinking water supply for more than 7 million people. After pushback from NRDC and lots of others, the ultimate permit was dialed again to only 7-instances the allowable federal limit for this explicit brain poison.
– They crap up the air too. We battled them in court docket for years once they tried to sport the numbers and imply that an enormous growth to course of the dirtiest oil on the planet would scale back the amount of pollutants they streamed into the air. Finally, they settled with us, our companions and the USEPA, pressured to make an addition $four hundred million funding to assist truly scale back the mess they emitted.
– Oh, and lifeless monkeys. However that’s probably not their fault /p>
Most of those points stem from that $four billion growth to course of Canadian tar sands oil. Making it a harbinger foretelling some of the less apparent impacts coming from the battle over this bottom of the barrel petroleum currently being foisted on the world by the oil business. The insane climate dangers alone ought to make the general public wary about embracing further the most carbon intensive petroleum on the planet.
Most of these issues stem from that $4 billion expansion to course of dirty Canadian tar sands oil; making the BP refinery a harbinger of many unfavourable impacts coming from the this backside of the barrel petroleum being foisted on the world by the oil business. Climate dangers alone ought to make the public wary about additional use of tar sands, the most carbon intensive petroleum on the planet. However the stream of mess coming out of BP Whiting reveals the social, political and democratic threats that addiction to tar sands pose to citizens and communities.
Changes in our oil sector are not about distant activities and oil rigs. They’re about rapid impacts people are beginning to see in their homes, households and neighborhoods: Polluted waters; Mounds of solid waste; Risky transportation schemes that deliver filth, explosions, pollution and destruction to our homes, waters and air within the type of oil trains and leaky pipelines.
Speaking of leaky pipes, Enbridge’s Line 6B originates near BP’s Whiting refinery. That is the pipeline that spurted one million+ gallons of heavy tar sands oil into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River, resulting in the biggest and most expensive inland oil spill in our nation’s history. Like BP yesterday, Enbridge didn’t give detail on what was operating in that pipeline—going as far as to deny that tar sands oil was concerned with the spill, until Michigan Messenger’s Todd Heywood and OnEarth’s correspondent Kari Lydersen compelled the company’s CEO to come clean. That obfuscation of fact had very real impacts. Whereas cleanup up crews had been skimming the river for oil, heavy tar sands globules sank. Right now, submerged oil is still being cleaned within the riverbed.
So, while the Financial Instances stories that the spill was possible 10-12 barrels, BP’s statements have been far less concrete. Whereas the scope of yesterday’s spill is clearly a tiny fraction of the Kalamazoo catastrophe, it’s nonetheless not clear what variety and the way much oil made its way into Lake Michigan from the refinery. A day later, we nonetheless don’t know /p>
It’s that lack of transparency that drives environmentalists and government decisionmakers alike loopy. The general public needs to know what has made its means into their drinking water sources and whether or not it is being adequately cleaned. Positive, federal regulators must do better: press calls to USEPA had been routed on to BP to reply.
However in the end, this lack of transparency is wholly unacceptable.
It’s why a spill like this one, whether big or small, will proceed to garner national headlines.
And that’s the sort of behavior that will keep BP Whiting the refinery Chicagoans love to hate. As the rest of the country catches on, it ought to spur a move to get severe about ending our harmful addiction to oil—and all of the damaging tasks like Keystone XL that are designed to delay that motion.
BP Whiting with Chicago in the background by J. Henry Truthful.