Oil giant BP has caused yet another oil spill in a crucial water way this week, following an increase in tar sands refining at its Indiana plant on the shores of Lake Michigan.
BP notified the federal government’s National Response Center around 5 p.m. Monday that its Whiting Refinery was leaking oil into the lake, which is the source of drinking water for 7 million people in nearby Chicago, due to a malfunction in the refinery’s cooling water system.
The spill comes less than a year after BP started processing Canadian tar sands at the refinery. Tar sands oil, many environmental groups have warned, is “the dirtiest fuel on Earth” and is “more corrosive, more toxic, and more difficult to clean up than conventional crude.”
Enumerating a long list of historical problems at the Whiting Refinery, Henry Henderson at the Natural Resources Defense Council notes Wednesday, “The week of the Exxon Valdez disaster anniversary and a week after the Council of Canadians released a report highlighting the threat that tar sands oil imposes on the Great Lakes, BP did what it always does: crapped up Lake Michigan.”It was still uncertain Wednesday as to exactly how much of the oil spilled. BP said it had managed to stop the discharge by Tuesday and cleanup efforts continued throughout the day on Wednesday.
The EPA stated:
Under EPA oversight, BP has deployed more than 2,000 feet of boom to contain the oil. In addition, the company has used vacuum trucks to remove about 5,200 gallons of an oil/water mixture from the spill location. BP crews also are combing a nearby company-owned beach for oil globs and conducting air monitoring to ensure the safety of the public. The U.S. Coast Guard has flown over the area and has not observed any visible sheen beyond the boomed area.
BP recently said they are doubling its processing of heavy crude oil at the refinery. Recent report by the Council of Canadians, warns that the Great Lakes are at risk of becoming a “liquid pipeline” for the dirtiest forms of oil and gas available, citing ongoing plans to transport “extreme energy” sources such as tar sands under and across the Great Lakes.
This week’s spill comes four years after BP’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, the largest in U.S. history, which continues to plague the Gulf of Mexico.
“The malfunction occurred at the refinery’s largest crude distillation unit, the centerpiece of a nearly $4 billion overhaul that allowed BP to process more heavy Canadian oil from the tar sands region of Alberta,” Report: Chicago Tribune. “The unit … performs one of the first steps in the refining of crude oil into gasoline and other fuels.”
The Environmental Protection Agency in the US is again allowing BP to bid for US government contracts. The company had been barred following a guilty verdict in a case surrounding the Deepwater Horizon disaster of April 2010.
The move will allow BP to enter into new contracts with the US government, including in the Gulf of Mexico, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars of new business.
The agreement takes effect immediately and will be in place for five years. According to it BP is required to retain an independent auditor approved by the EPA who will conduct an annual review and report on BP’s compliance. Deepwater Horizon was the biggest oil drilling accident in US history. In November, 2012 BP admitted guilt in the death of 11 workers in an explosion on a platform, the spill of millions of gallons of oil, and the contamination hundreds of miles of beaches. The company agreed
According to the nonprofit Environmental Working Group, there were 17 members on seven EPA review panels in 2007 who had financial ties to the chemical industry, or who had publicly affirmed the safety of the chemicals they were reviewing. For example, an Exxon Mobil employee was allowed to serve on a panel reviewing the carcinogenic chemical ethylene oxide, which is manufactured by that company. The EPA has no problem with these obvious conflicts of interest. In fact, it seems to be doing everything it can to stack the panels with pro-chemical advocates who have financial ties to chemical manufacturers.
To any intelligent consumer, it’s quite obvious now that the EPA, FDA and USDA all now serve the interests of powerful corporations and have betrayed the American people they were supposed to protect. These agencies that once sought to regulate industry have now become the marketing branches of industry, abandoning the protection of the public and working on ways to maximize profits (or at least limit the damages when new toxicities are discovered).
That the EPA would so directly censor a scientist who simply sought to ask the right questions about the safety of deca is nothing short of outrageous. It is a further indication that the EPA now serves a new master: The Chemical companies. And under the Bush Administration, the EPA has gone to great lengths to censor scientists who dared to tell the truth about threats to our natural environment, from toxic chemicals, pollution, heavy metals toxicity to GMOs. Now, telling the truth at the EPA is apparently enough to get you fired. The truth will no longer be tolerated. Only fictions will be heard at the EPA.
And soon, we’ll all be told the same lies now being repeated behind closed doors at the EPA: Toxic chemicals are good for you, and there’s no need to be concerned about the 10,000+ chemicals being used in consumer products today.
Much like the FDA, Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is heavily influenced by the drug industry, and has been caught colluding with drug companies to fast-track approval for drugs, for instance, without requiring them to complete all stages of safety approval and clinical trials.
One major area of concern is CDSCO’s lack of oversight of the clinical trial process, which itself is riddled with loopholes that are routinely exploited by Big Pharma. And rather than tighten these restrictions and assume an active role in ensuring that all approved drugs are first tested in accordance with the law, CDSCO has instead chosen to look the other way and even facilitate such crimes against humanity.
The FDA has failed to formally define the word ”Natural” as it applies to food. As a result, there is growing litigation across the country regarding consumers being misled by food labels using the words “All Natural,” “Natural” and “100% Natural.” This is particulary true relative to genetically modified food that claims to be “Natural.”the FDA once again has failed to protect American consumers by choosing to allow the word “Natural” to remain meaningless in the world of food.
Profits Before People
Supreme Court Pro-Corporate Big Business
The current Supreme Court has headed in a very scary direction.
found that the five conservative justices currently sitting on the Supreme Court are in the top 10 most pro-corporate justices in more than half a century.
And Justices Samuel Alito and John Roberts? They were number one and number two.
Follow these pro-corporate trends to their logical conclusion, and pretty soon you’ll have a Supreme Court that is a wholly owned subsidiary of big business. And right now, the Supreme Court is considering McCutcheon v. FEC , a case that could mean the end of campaign contribution limits — allowing the big guys to buy even more influence in Washington. We ‘re in this fight because we believe that we don’t run this country for corporations – we run it for people. No wonder the court decided corporations are people.