BP allowed to increase waste discharges into Lake Michigan

The ugly (and imaginary) conflict between environment and economy has reared its head in Indiana, where state and federal regulators granted exemptions that will allow oil giant BP to discharge more waste from a refinery straight into Lake Michigan. You may recall that BP is moving “Beyond Petroleum.” But first it has a few things to take care of — like this $3.8 billion expansion of a facility in Whiting, Ind., that will process Canadian crude oil. Claiming that there isn’t enough room on-site to upgrade its water-treatment plant, BP sought permission to increase discharges of ammonia and sludge into the lake, diluting them with water 200 feet offshore. Officials, apparently wooed by the prospect of 80 new jobs, said OK, while clean-water advocates protested the decision. “We’re not necessarily opposed to this project,” said Lee Botts, founder of the Alliance for the Great Lakes. “But if they are investing all of these billions, they surely can afford to spend some more to protect the lake.”