Environmental Health

I like to think of myself as an environmentalist… I recycle, I do what I can to reduce my impact on the earth. I do think most individuals do the same things, now. We can’t deny the information we see everywhere, the TV, newspapers, and even in the break room around the water cooler, that our planet is in danger if we don’t stop polluting. And I consider my dogs very close to nature, more so than humans, and so I try to put myself closer to nature as well.

I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and the great lakes are still close to my heart. And so when I see that there might be a company polluting one of the great lakes, Lake Michigan, my interest is peaked.

There is a debate going on about a BP Factory in Whiting, Indiana, that has received permission from the government to discharge more ammonia and sludge into Lake Michigan. This Chicago Tribune Article give more detailed information about what is going on. I’ll not repeat it here, as the article is informative on it’s own and I recommend for you to read it. The BP’s Whiting Refinery Fact Sheet, on the other hand, disputes some of the claims made in the Chicago Tribune Article. It states that it’s discharge is safe and well within national regulations and legal limits. It states that there is no harm to humans or to the environment (I assume this also means dogs and other animals). And that more jobs will be provided, and jobs are so very important in our society.

Why are they allowed to discharge more waste into the Lake? Because they are refining crude oil from Canada. And this is beneficial because it will reduce our reliance on middle east oil. I whole heartedly support a reduction on middle eastern oil. So the theory is, in order to reduce our dependence on middle east oil, we need to process more Canadian.

I would rather, however, support renewable energy sources rather than any type of oil refinement. It is amazing how much of our world economy is based on oil. When I really look into it, I am stunned. So maybe instead of which oil do we use, we need to think outside the box, as they say, and look at alternatives altogether.

However, that will not happen anytime soon. Should BP be allowed to dump more discharge into Lake Michigan? Are they really following all the regulations they are supposed to? What is more important, that lake, or the need to get rid of our dependence on middle east oil?

Is it a balance that can be reached? I don’t know. Personally, I support the Lake, and the environment. But there are those that disagree. And perhaps it is not a question about oil vs environment. Perhaps both can work together? I am not an optimist, however, and I have my doubts.