back on july 15 the chicago tribune broke the news that oil mega-monster bp obtained a permit from the state of indiana to dump “significantly more” toxic chemicals into lake michigan from their whiting, indiana oil refinery. initial statements claimed these toxins to be ammonia (54% more) and industrial sludge (35% more). as you can imagine this caused quite a stir in chicago and other neighboring cities along lake michigan. further tribune investigations discovered that not only has bp been dumping ammonia, industrial sludge, and suspended solids into lake michigan, but much higher than allowed mercury deposits as well.
“federal records analyzed by the tribune show bp puts 2 pounds of mercury into the lake every year from its sprawling plant 3 miles southeast of chicago in whiting, ind. that amount is small compared with the mercury that falls into the water from air pollution, but mercury builds up in the environment and is so toxic that even tiny drops can threaten fish and people.”
according to 1995 epa standards, bp’s mercury output should not surpass 8/100ths of a pound. not only is 2 pounds of mercury dumped annually significantly more than 1995 standards, it is plenty to threaten local fish and wildlife. and as stated above mercury is a toxin that accumulates through the food chain. my real question is, why is bp dumping any mercury at all? or any toxins for that reason? i can’t help but think william mcdonough’s cradle to cradle:
“to be less bad is to accept things the way they are, to believe that poorly designed, dishonorable, destructive systems are the best humans can do. the ultimate failure of the “be less bad” approach: a failure of the imagination. what about an entirely different model? what would it mean to be 100% good?”