University Study Vindicates BP in Lake Michigan Controversy

Published December 21, 2007

BP’s plans to discharge 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more suspended solids into Lake Michigan from its Whiting refinery will not environmentally damage the lake, concludes a study commissioned by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels and conducted by Indiana University environmental professor James Barnes. The study vindicates BP after the energy company endured an onslaught of negative publicity last summer when it announced its plans to increase Lake Michigan discharges.

BP received regulatory approval last summer to increase its ammonia and suspended solids discharges into Lake Michigan. BP put those plans on hold, however, after environmental activists and spokespersons for the City of Chicago received widespread headlines for their assertion that the new discharge rates would damage the lake’s health. The Indiana University study proved those assertions to be unfounded.

The sky-is-falling claims of environmental extremists have once again been disproven by sound science.

The activist playbook of making emotional accusations that have no basis in scientific fact paid fantastic public relations dividends last summer. Now that science has had its say, however, it is time for these activist groups to once again eat crow. It is no wonder that the general public increasingly views environmental activist groups with distrust and suspicion.

James Taylor ( [email protected] ) is senior fellow for environment policy for The Heartland Institute.