Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Hoosier Daddy? ... B(ig) P(olluter), an update

Last week, I posted about the State of Indiana's approval of a BP plan to dump more pollution into Lake Michigan (see B(ig) P(olluter) of Lake Michigan). The story has been percolating in the local media since then, and the public outcry in Illinois has grown loud enough for the pols in Washington, DC to notice.

As reported in the Chicago Tribune, see the excerpts below, Illinois politicians from both sides of the aisle in both the House and Senate took BP execs out to the wood shed, where they delivered a pretty simple message ... "ain't gonna happen." The Land of Lincoln has a little more clout in DC than the Hoosier state does, so this travesty of environmental policy might just get put out of our misery pretty quickly.

The article points out that there is "little political downside" for the Illinois reps to oppose this, and that's certainly true considering the refinery sits across the border, but how important can 80 new jobs really be? There has to be more to this story than the mainstream media is giving us.

What else is at stake for the state of Indiana to put the health and welfare of the whole region at risk? Was something else promised or threatened? What kind of hold does BP have on the Hoosier state? Why are they being so quiet now, even after all the negative publicity? Inquiring minds want to know.

Illinois lawmakers bash BP plan to dump waste in Lake Michigan
By Jim Tankersley and Michael Hawthorne Tribune staff reporters

WASHINGTON - Executives from the oil company BP hit a bipartisan buzz-saw on Capitol Hill Tuesday, as Illinois lawmakers rebuked them in a private meeting and the House prepared to condemn BP's plans for increasing the dumping of pollutants into Lake Michigan.

Bashing BP, which recently secured an Indiana state permit to discharge more ammonia and suspended solids from its massive oil refinery in Whiting, is a new sport for Illinois politicians who see big problems with the permit—and little political downside to attacking an oil giant over drinking water quality, especially with no Illinois jobs hanging in the balance. ...

There were no Indiana lawmakers at the meeting. They generally have been reluctant to criticize BP, at least in part because the refinery expansion would add 80 new jobs. ...

Read the full article
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