Thursday, August 23, 2007

British Petroleum--Advertising Green, Polluting as Usual

Pollution Fight Pits Illinois vs. BP, Indiana Upgrade of Oil Refinery Would Discharge More Pollutants Into Lake Michigan
By Kari Lydersen Washington Post Staff Writer Thursday, August 23, 2007; A11
WHITING, Ind. -- A proposal to allow BP to greatly increase the amount of pollutants it discharges into Lake Michigan from its refinery here has prompted a bitter war of words between officials in Illinois and Indiana.
Illinois officials have accused their neighbors to the east of fouling the lake, which has grown steadily cleaner in recent years. Indiana officials say the planned discharge is within the federal limits and accuse their Illinois brethren of grandstanding.
At issue is a plan by BP to upgrade its oil refinery in northwest Indiana to increase the amount of heavy crude oil from the Canadian province of Alberta that it can refine at its Whiting plant. To help, state regulators have granted the company a permit allowing it to dump 50 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more suspended solids into Lake Michigan.
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(Wikipedia) BP was named one of the "ten worst corporations" in both 2001 and 2006 based on its environmental and human rights records. In 1991 BP was cited as the most polluting company in the US based on EPA toxic release data. Greenpeace International named BP one of Scotland's two largest polluters in 1992. Since branding itself an environmentally sound corporation in 1997, BP has been charged with burning polluted gases at its Ohio refinery (for which it was fined $1.7 million), and in in July 2000 BP paid a $10 million fine to the EPA for its management of it US refineries. According to PIRG research, between January 1997 and March 1998, BP was responsible for 104 oil spills. If one combines BP's own emissions with the emissions of the products it sells, then BP's emissions are greater than those of Central America, Canada or Britain. Welcome to the world of false advertising.

* For more in-depth articles by Jim on Environmental Issues, check out Opinion-Columns.com