Insisting that they cannot stop BP from dumping more toxic waste into Lake Michigan, federal officials are trying to persuade the oil company to finance other projects to help clean up the lake, The Chicago Tribune reports.
The move is a response to growing public outrage about a permit that allows BP to increase the amount of ammonia and suspended solids dumped into the lake by its Whiting, Ind., refinery.
The article reports that the EPA plans to offer seven alternatives for the company to consider:
- Finance projects that reduce pollution from other companies that discharge into the Grand Calumet River or Lake Michigan.
- Divert all or some of the refinery’s wastewater to nearly municipal treatment plants. The Hammond Sanitary District, East Chicago Sanitary District and Gary Sanitary District are options.
- Pay for sewer upgrades in neighboring towns to keep sewage and storm water out of Lake Michigan.
- Set aside money to filter pollution that seeps into the lake. Projects could include wetlands, shoreline restoration or storm-water retention ponds.
- Make additional upgrades at the refinery’s water treatment plant to reduce the amount of pollution flowing into Lake Michigan.
- Spend more money to dredge contaminated muck from the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal.
- Join Indiana to pay for other projects that remove contaminated sediment in the Grand Calumet River.
BP, which has taken out full-page newspaper advertisements and paid Internet bloggers to defend the permit, according to the Tribune, says it needs to discharge more pollution as part of a $3.8 billion expansion that will enable the Whiting refinery to process more heavy Canadian crude oil.