Monday, July 14, 2008

NRDC Fights BP Air Permits in Federal Court

Jul 9: Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a federal challenge to air permits given by the State of Indiana to BP’s controversial refinery in Whiting, IN [See WIMS 6/2/08]. The permits were recently awarded by the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) despite significant concern from the public, environmental experts and elected officials. Ann Alexander, a senior attorney at NRDC said, “IDEM and BP did not learn their lesson after the public outcry over water pollution permits last summer. They had an opportunity to do things right this time, and they didn’t take it. The permits simply do not protect the public and do not live up to the law. The failure of Indiana and BP to take the public interest and the law seriously has forced the issue and required that this case be brought before the federal courts. . . In the ConocoPhillips case, the environmental review board at US EPA sent a message to oil refineries around the nation that it is time they clean up. We believe that the federal courts will support that precedent.”

The case argues that BP and IDEM have not properly accounted for increases in dangerous pollution that will result from the refinery expansion. The increased pollution requires that the refinery control its pollution more effectively, and operate under a more stringent, “major source” permit. NRDC is assisting as legal counsel in a similar case being brought by Indiana environmental groups in a state administrative forum. NRDC is challenging the facility’s construction permits in the Hammond Division of the Northern District of Indiana Federal court.

Access a release from NRDC (click here).