Monday, August 20, 2007


I heard this on WIND-AM this morning, and had to look it up.


BP dumps mercury in lake

Refinery has been exempt -- and new permit gives it 5 more years

Although the federal government ordered states more than a decade ago to dramatically limit mercury discharges into the Great Lakes, the BP refinery in northwest Indiana will be allowed to continue pouring small amounts of the toxic metal into Lake Michigan for at least another five years.

A little-noticed exemption in BP's controversial new state water permit gives the oil company until 2012 to meet strict federal limits on mercury discharges. In documents, Indiana regulators predict the refinery won't be able to comply and will ask to continue polluting after that date.

Money graph ...

Federal records analyzed by the Tribune show BP puts 2 pounds of mercury into the lake every year from its sprawling plant 3 miles southeast of Chicago in Whiting, Ind. That amount is small compared with the mercury that falls into the water from air pollution, but mercury builds up in the environment and is so toxic that even tiny drops can threaten fish and people.

Crap ain't mercury and mercury ain't crap, but come-on:

A mix of sewage and storm water from combined sewers in central Milwaukee and Shorewood began flowing into Milwaukee's rivers and Lake Michigan around 5:15 a.m. today, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District officials said.

[ ... ]

Sanitary sewers must be allowed to drain to the tunnels to prevent municipal sewers from backing up into basements of residences and businesses.

I love this line:

"We do everything possible to protect people's basements," Shafer said.

Even at the expense of clean water in Lake Michigan? I think not. Paraphrasing, that amount is massive compared with the feces released by fish, lake birds, boaters, and businesses, but fecal matter builds up in the environment and is so toxic that even huge discharges can threaten fish and people.

"We do everything possible to protect a reliable source of motor fuels," Headless said.

I guess it all comes down to priorities.

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