Paying the environmental price for the fuck-ups of other states

The people of Florida have been standing up to oil industry pressure for decades. While their neighboring coastal states have approved off-shore drilling, in hopes creating jobs, and filling their coffers, the people of Florida have stood strong, opting to forgo immediate financial gratification, and instead safeguard their shoreline and wetlands for future generations. Of course, that didn’t keep the oil from reaching their shores. Right now, two enormous plumes of oil from Louisiana’s Deepwater Horizon rig, are making their way toward Florida’s panhandle. And, it would seem to me that, in addition to going after BP in court, the state of Florida might also have a case against the state of Louisiana. On a very much related subject, I would think that we here in Michigan might have a case against the state of Indiana, which, if you can believe it, just gave BP the go-ahead to dump more ammonia and toxic, heavy metal sludge into Lake Michigan. Here’s a clip from the Chicago Tribune:

The massive BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., is planning to dump significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.

Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

Under BP’s new state water permit, the refinery — already one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes — can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals.

With oil on our east coast, there is a huge tourism opportunity for the state of Michigan, and we can’t afford to have BP come along and fuck that up too… Haven’t they done enough already?

[This post was brought to you by the good people of the BP security forces, who risk their lives every day to keep people off of public beaches.]

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  1. Just Passing Through
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Mark, you have no case. Michigan makes gas guzzling SUV’s. Much of the destruction we have wrought so far is due to transportation. What do you think BP does? Case closed.
    Check John Kerry’s recent work in the US Senate. States have the right to do what they want with their offshore oil reserves or refuse to. Kerry is a Democrat by the way.

  2. Box Pooper
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    You make a good point, JPT, but I still say that we pronounce today Mail A Dump To Indiana Day.

  3. Edward
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Where does the CEO of BP live? Does someone have an address?

  4. Carol
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Fuck Indiana. Fuck ’em straight to hell.

  5. KT
    Posted June 14, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    One good thing to come out of all of this is that Obama is finally starting to talk more about clean renewable sources of energy.

  6. Edward
    Posted June 15, 2010 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Jim left a comment in another thread that I thought was relevant to this discussion. It was a link to a blog post yesterday by Juan Cole. Here’s the section on BP’s activity in Lake Michigan.

    The BP refinery received permission from the Indiana legislature to increase its ammonia and silt (infested with toxic heavy metals) output into the Lakes. The increased pollution was part of an expansion of the refinery to allow it to process Canadian tar sands. In addition, BP has illegally spewed extra benzene into the lakes (benzene is a known cause of leukemia) and has also repeatedly broken the law with regard to air pollution standards.

    You did not ask BP to dump extra benzene illegally into Lake Michigan (the lakes are connected). You did not agitate in Indianapolis to permit the refinery to expand to handle tar sand, which is all by itself an ecological catastrophe. You did not demand that more ammonia and toxic metals be dumped into the lakes. None of these crimes against nature was your individual responsibility.

    Rather, the Indiana legislature passed these laws because of ‘legislative capture.’ That phenomenon occurs when an industry that is supposed to be regulated by a legislature instead pays so much for political campaigns that it captures the members and proves able to write the legislation affecting its interests. Legislative capture explains almost everything that is wrong with America today, from the wars to the difficulty in expanding health care, and from inaction on climate change to the high price of prescription drugs.

    Legislative capture is not your fault.

2 Trackbacks

  1. […] (BP) the go-ahead to disregard laws concerning the dumping of hazardous chemicals, and discharge unprecedented amounts of ammonia and toxic, heavy metal sludge into Lake Michigan, the enormously important fresh water resource that our two states share. Well, it would appear […]

  2. […] Paying the environmental price for the fuck-ups of other states: […]

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