Monday, July 23, 2007

Both Sides of the Environmental Issue

It is a strange and wonderful privilege we have here in the USA concerning big companies. Some of these large conglomerates are from foreign nations such as the London based British Petroleum. We are allowed to disagree with their products/services and their handing of them, even fight them in court, and sometimes win. For this post we shall do a little research for both sides in the ongoing tale of the BP (British Petroleum) refinery in Whiting, Indiana.

To begin with here are a few facts from their BP fact sheet: 1. BP is prepared and already have plans to spend over $3 billion to improve the Whiting Refinery.

2. Sludge is treated separately and is never discharged into Lake Michigan. Both human and aquatic life is protected.

3. The Whiting Refinery volunteered to reduce total suspended solids in its water discharge by 40%. BP, along with government agencies are also working with community and environmental organizations to to develop environmentally sounds plans.

You can read more of this fact sheet at their site which will include information on fuel for the Midwest, the creation of new jobs, and their commitment to environmental and civic leadership as well as other U.S. activities.

Nonetheless, the other side of the issue, of course, tells another story. Here is an excerpt from the Chicago Tribune: "In sharp contrast to the greenways and parks that line Lake Michigan in Chicago, a string of industrial behemoths lie along the heavily polluted southern shore just a few miles away. The steady flow of oil, grease and chemicals into the lake from steel mills, refineries and factories -- once largely unchecked -- drew national attention that helped prompt Congress to pass the Clean Water Act during the early 1970s."

You can read the full story at the Chicago Tribune website. You might have to register with the paper--it's free.

Personally, I liked the article in the News Sentinel a little bit better to grasp, it didn't have all the hollering and finger pointing and might give you a better assessment of the story.

Here's an excerpt of the article in the News Sentinel: "Hoosier environmentalists are angry that the state is allowing BP to release “significantly more” ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan from its refinery in Whiting.

But there's more to the story, and its complexities illustrate the tradeoffs we sometimes have to make in a modern industrial society. Energy independence and clean water are both important to us. We don't get to pick one or the other. We must, instead, determine which one has to be advanced a little at the expense of the other at any given moment."

Again, my friends, study all the facts, and judge for yourselves.

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