British Petroleum (BP) has become a poster child for some in the environmental movement. BP has been positioning itself as an example of responsible corporate behaviour and social responsibility as it cloaks itself in a healthy green hue. From its new sunflower logo, to its web site (http://www.bp.com) promoting environmental responsibility and clean energy, BP could be the subject of reality show entitled Corporate Makeover or Pimp My Image.
So it may come as surprise to many environmentalists and others to learn that BP has been responsible for pumping toxins into Lake Michigan and now, with the help of the State of Indiana, that dumping is about to get seriously worse.
Amazingly, while this story has gotten lots of play in Chicago, the largest city fronting Lake Michigan, it has gotten scarce media coverage elsewhere.
To put the story in perspective, as gleaned from various sources, BP dumps 21 million gallons of toxic waste into Lake Michigan every single day. The amount of ammonia dumped will be increased 54% to 718.5 kilos daily. Toxic sludge, will be increased by 34% to 4,925 pounds every day. The Indiana permit will also allow BP to dump into the lake, again on a daily basis, two pounds of toxic mercury. That amount exceeds a 1995 US federal standard that restricts mercury to 8/100ths of a pound.
According to the US EPA, the agency must honour the permit issued by Indiana. On July 25th, the US Congress voted overwhelmingly, 387 to 26, in support of a resolution that voices disapproval. The City of Chicago is looking at a municipal boycott of BP and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has said he will organize of coalition of lake shore communities to sue BP.
According to a report in the Lake Erie Beacon, the dumping permit is the first expansion of hazardous dumping into the Great Lakes in twenty years. The paper also says the dumping violates the 1977 US Clean Water Act.
That BP is another corporation trying to pull green wool over the eyes of the public is one thing. A perhaps more important question might be why this issue has had such limited play in the corporate media? Is it because of advertising dollars alone? Or is there more to it? In any case, BP is less Beyond Petroleum and more 'Bout Pollution.
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[ 04 August 2007: Message edited by: Frustrated Mess ]