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Letter to Administrator Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency

Letter to Administrator Johnson, Environmental Protection Agency


Dear Administrator Johnson:

We are writing to request a formal review by the Environmental Protection Agency of the egregious National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit issued by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) to BP PLC for its Whiting, Indiana refinery facility.

We support BP's innovative approach to addressing our energy crisis, but not at the expense of our most precious natural resource. The Great Lakes are the world's largest freshwater system and serve as a source of drinking water, food, jobs and recreation for more than forty million Americans. It is critical that we enhance our restoration efforts for this critical resource, not degrade the condition of the lakes even further.

The permit issued by IDEM will allow BP to increase its discharge of ammonia by 54 percent and its discharge of total suspended solids by 35 percent. This amounts to an additional 554 pounds of ammonia and 1,279 pounds of treated waste per day being dumped into our source of drinking water. These staggering figures are wholly contradictory to the intent of the Clean Water Act, which seeks to minimize the degradation of our water quality. We are deeply concerned that a permit of this nature was issued.

We therefore request a review of the permit to include the following:

1) Ensure it is in compliance with Sec. 303(d)(4) of the Clean Water Act and 40 CFR 131.12 of federal EPA regulations which outline antidegradation policies.

2) Ensure it is in compliance with 40 CFR 132, which outlaws mixing zones for Bioaccumulative Chemicals of Concern (BCC). While we understand that no mixing zone has been granted for mercury, a BCC, it is concerning that the permit acknowledges that Mercury has been found in the effluent in quantities that show a reasonable potential to exceed water quality standards. The permit requires compliance of a final effluent limitation only after five years.

We also request a review of process under which IDEM satisfied these provisions.

As both Congress and the Administration work to protect and restore the Great Lakes, it is unacceptable to allow an increase in harmful discharge of this magnitude. We urge you to immediately review this permit and look forward to your response.


1. Mark Kirk (IL)
2. Vernon Ehlers (MI)
3. Judy Biggert (IL)
4. Rahm Emanuel (IL)
5. Peter Roskam (IL)
6. Daniel Lipinski (IL)
7. Peter Hoekstra (MI)
8. Mike Rogers (MI)
9. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (IL)
10. Candice Miller (MI)
11. Thomas E. Petri (WI)
12. Dale Kildee (MI)
13. Brian Higgins (NY)
14. Bobby Rush (IL)
15. Tammy Baldwin (WI)
16. Danny Davis (IL)
17. Sander Levin (MI)
18. Michael Arcuri (NY)
19. Luis Gutierrez (IL)

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