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Wanna Go to the Beach, Part 2

By Kevin Robinson in News on Jul 26, 2007 1:50PM

Last week we clued you in to BP's plans to increase the levels of ammonia and sludge thhey are discharging into Lake Michigan from their Whiting, IN refinery. Responding to the wave of local bad press the company got, BP ran full page ads in newspapers, letters to the editor, and even blog advertising, including here on Chicagoist.

2007_7_bp_whiting.jpgYesterday the Chicago Tribune ran with a front page headline detailing the flogging that BP took on Capitol Hill Tuesday, as both Republicans and Democrats from Illinois took turns trashing the petroleum giant. "For my purposes, this bipartisan meeting was to discuss the terms of surrender for BP," Mark Kirk (R - 10) told the Tribune. Jan Schakowsky (D - 9) weighed in, saying after a meeting with the corporation's American President, Bob Malone, that he "gets it." Lest this only be an orgy of Illinois pols, Michigan Congressman Fred Upton (R - 6) chimed in as well, telling the press “the last thing we need to see is that the Great Lakes take a step back.” Senator Evan Bayh (D - IN) was less forthright, who's press secretary said "We can't compromise Lake Michigan or any part of our environment for economic progress," but the refinery "is vital to issues relating to the nation's energy supply and our economy."

While Illinois lawmakers warned that BP would lose any fight over expanded dumping in the lake, and Rahm Emanuel (D - 5) is sponsoring a resolution condemning the permit that Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels approved (and which officially took effect Monday), none of the actions taken at the federal level will really address the root issue that led to this brouhaha in the first place.Certainly protecting the integrity of the Great Lakes as an ecosystem is important, it is all too politically convenient to make a fuss out of some dumping in Lake Michigan. Even if Congress stops BP from processing Canadian Crude oil at it's Whiting facility, it won't change the fact that we are quickly approaching a point where we'll have to take increasingly desperate steps to produce fuels for our lifestyle. If this bipartisan group of lawmakers were really serious about protecting the Great Lakes, and therefore the environment that we all depend on, real energy reform would be the centerpiece of this legislation, not a resolution condemning more pollution.

Image via Site Selection Online