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precedent that will revive an outdated mantra of industry - “dilution is the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.
Local Surfer and