Hey Chicago – BP’s already spilling into Lake Michigan

No Swimming Allowed...again?

Good morning Chicago!

Were you aware British Petroleum, scourge of the south is closer to home than many of you may realize? Yes-sir, they have been operating the fourth largest oil refinery adjacent to Lake Michigan for years, and dumping pollution into the lake for just as long. The Whiting Refinery, located in Whiting, Indiana is perilously close to the drawing point for the entire city of Chicago’s water supply, and this huge complex is currently in the middle of a 3.4 billion dollar expansion that will dump 54% more ammonia and 35% percent more suspended solids, including such toxins as lead, benzine, nickel and mercury into Lake Michigan.

That’s right! You lucky bastards! And there’s more, much more!

This refinery is simply bursting with fun facts!

in 1995, the EPA ordered British Petroleum to only discharge as much as 8/100th’s of a pound of mercury into the lake annually, citing this as the safest allowable level, but then turned around and gave them an exemption from this rule which allowed them to drop in as much as 2 pounds per year and 15 years later, BP is still operating under this exemption. The expiration date is 2012, right when the new expansion will be complete. So why the big revamp? Well, it’s being done so BP can refine even greater amounts of Canadian shale.  The Canadian government has refused permission for BP to refine it at the site of the mine so BP went off to America where the laws are far friendlier to oil companies, Indiana especially. Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan all fought to stop it, with only Indiana providing friendly ground, stating that it would provide 80 more jobs. The Mayor of Waukegan IL, Richard Hyde objected, stating, “How did they get a permit to dump into the lake in the first place? How does anybody get a permit to dump into the lake?”

Well Richard, probably want to ask the EPA and good ol’ GW, have a beer with him while ya talk.

In response to questions about the safety of the water, British Petroleum has said Chicago’s water is safe for drinking, and though they could try even harder to clean it up, this would cost more, “Spending more money to try to purify waste water even more does not guarantee that the discharge will get any cleaner,” a BP official said.


BP and Indiana regulators say the Whiting project will cut the amount of air pollution the refinery emits. But even with various improvements in the last decade, the refinery is the sixth-largest source of industrial air pollution in the Chicago area. The 246 tons of airborne chemicals and heavy metals emitted by the refinery in 2007, the last year for which figures are available, included toxic benzene, ammonia and mercury.

“BP needs to come clean about what this expansion really will mean for clean air and public health,” said Meleah Geertsma, a staff attorney for the Environmental Law and Policy Center.

And it isn’t just the water everyone should be concerned about…the pollutions is also in the air. In the past three years, the EPA has cited BP several times for violating the Clean Air Act. The company has acknowledged that for the last six years it violated limits on benzene, a volatile chemical linked to leukemia and other health problems. According to BP, heat-trapping pollution from the refinery is expected to rise 40 percent when the expansion is done, an amount equivalent to adding 320,000 cars to the nation’s highways.

Recently, Obama has decided to crack down on BP and last year he ordered a review of the whole permit process, and ordered studies done to define the impact of the expansion.

Another study, perfect.

But this isn’t all BP has in store for you, citizens around Lake Michigan. British Petroleum has been fighting for years to undergo directional drilling to get at oil deposits underneath the Great Lakes. Directional drilling would involve drilling straight down near the shore, then continue at a diagonal angle under the lake. BP says it is safe; it is onshore so there is no chance for a leak into the lakes, but environmentalists disagree, wondering what the effect would be to empty out a pressurized depository under the Great Lakes.

BP doesn’t have to wonder, they are confident.

Confident like they were before Deepwater Horizon, or confident like they are now?

Currently there is a ban against such drilling, but environmental analyst for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Russ Harding went on record saying the ban should be lifted, “What you’re doing is accessing those reserves that are thousands of feet underneath that continuous cap of rock…if anything, you would be relieving any pressure if there was ever seismic activity.” Course, the Mackinac Center is a right-wing think tank, some of their representatives having appeared on Glenn Beck’s show. In another paper Russ wrote for the Mackinac website, he discusses the oil spill in the Gulf, stating that environmental regulations are too complex to be enforced and the only effective check on the compliance of corporations is their company’s survivability. Russ apparently believes regulations should be lessened, removed, not made more stringent. Corporations will recognize if they don’t function safely, there companies will be in danger. Shell Oil obviously has learned their lesson from BP’s catastraphuk, in precisely the same way BP learned from the Exxon Valdez and went to great lengths to make their drilling platforms safe for workers and the environment.


Eat it Russ, the last creature we need weighing in on this is another former lobbyist, you know, cause you guys never have an agenda.

Chicago, BP has established its parasitic tentacles within your host. They have promised to lower the levels of emission and make sure your drinking water is safe. They have assured the Great Lakes region nothing would ever go wrong if they horizontally drill under Lake Michigan. They have your best interests at heart. They recognize that in order for their operations to work, everyone must work together, as a team, openly and honestly.

So relax:

If you can’t trust these lying bastards who can you trust?

Have a nice day.

Some source material from BP’s Assault on the Great Lakes and the Chicago Tribune

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