judge to hear case regarding bps dumping permit

Local activist group’s petition brings the oil refiner into question.

The Alliance for the Great Lakes have managed to get the courts to notice its petition that challenges the water pollution discharge permit issued by the state of Indiana that allows BP to release more pollution into Lake Michigan from its refinery at Whiting, Ind.

A local judge has set a hearing for Oct. 30 to hear the matter. The announcement came just days before BP announced that the company will adhere to its previous pollution limits rather than take advantage of the new, higher allowances afforded by Indiana regulators for a $3.8 billion refinery expansion, according to the Environment News Service.

“The petitioner has stated sufficient facts to raise legal issues regarding whether a legal exception applies in this instance,” Judge Catherine Gibbs wrote in her order. This decision means that the Alliance can make its case that an appeal of BP’s permit should be allowed despite the expiration of the pre-established appeal period, according to the news service.

The Alliance filed the petition on Aug. 15 with Indiana’s Office of Environmental Adjudication. The petition argues the state’s handling of the discharge permit it granted BP to expand its Whiting refinery. The Alliance is using the permit to win both a stay of the permit and a re-opening of the public appeal process.

“Citizens have a right to ensure that government decisions affecting the Great Lakes use the best policy, technology and efforts,” Alliance president Cameron Davis told the Environment News Service. “The real story here is that people want a new standard of care for the Great Lakes. They don’t want to see the absence of more harm. They don’t want to see the status quo. They want to see the region’s waterways proactively restored.”

Recently, BP obtained regulatory approval to increase average daily discharge limits for ammonia from 1,030 to 1,584 pounds per day and for total suspended solids from 3,646 to 4,925 pounds per day. The action enraged environmental activists and BP supporters who felt the company was blatantly ignoring its alleged stance for the environment and being a “green” service.

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