Chesterton Tribune

IDEM should reconsider BP decision for the sake of our Great Lakes

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Voice of the People

On July 15, the Chicago Tribune published an article (”BP gets break on dumping in lake”) documenting the recent pollution discharge permit and exemption granted to BP by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM). Recognizing the impact to Lake Michigan this project would create, it is essential that IDEM and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reevaluate this decision immediately.

The permit allows BP to dump 1,500 pounds of ammonia and over 5,000 pounds of sludge into Lake Michigan daily. It is negligent for government officials and BP to subject northwest Indiana residents and the Great Lakes to the adverse effects caused by this degradation.

In addition, an exemption allows BP to mix this toxic pollution with clean lake water in Lake Michigan a mere 200 ft. offshore. In this way, BP can bypass parts of the Clean Water Act. Rather than putting out more gallons of waste water, (already a monstrous 21 million gallons daily), BP will simply increase the concentration of discharge and mix it in our playground, drinking water, and greatest resource, Lake Michigan. This is a poor precedent that will revive an outdated mantra of industry - “dilution is the solution to pollution.” A choice to dilute says that IDEM and BP are thinking back to 1967 rather than looking ahead from 2007 to the future.

I’m not against development in northwest Indiana, a place where the economy needs a significant boost and residents need jobs, but BP is getting a free pass to pollute Lake Michigan. That’s wrong and unnecessary. BP can afford to, and must, prevent this pollution from entering Lake Michigan, while honoring their very public commitment to environmental sustainability.

For the sake of our Great Lakes, residents and wildlife alike, IDEM must reconsider its decision to allow a company that prides itself on eco-responsibility to engage in polluting practices of decades past. According to BP’s 2005 Environmental Statement for the Whiting Business Unit, the company will “conduct [group activities] in a manner that- is environmentally responsible with the aspiration of - no damage to the environment.‚” Let’s hold them to their standards.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.


Jason Lukas

Local Surfer and

Concerned Citizen


Posted 7/20/2007