Friday, July 27, 2007

Anti-BP video from YouTube

Thanks to Michigan Liberal for this video. Scroll down for more information on the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana and then do your part. Join the nationwide boycott of BP!

Michigan Supreme Court Sides with Nestle Corp

A Message from Jim Olson, Attorney for Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

The Supreme Court Clerk's office left a message this morning that it issued an opinion and order today. While Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation, and the Doyle and Sapp families reserve further comment after digesting the opinion and order in more detail, for the moment,it appears the four of the Justices --Justices Marksman, Taylor, Corrigan, and Young -- have put another nail in the coffin of citizen standing, and that Michigan's environment and individual and public rights have taken another severe blow at the hand of this Court. The Court now says it will require that any person bringing a lawsuit to protect our air, water, and natural resources, or the public trust in our waters, must allege and prove harm to waters, wetlands, or other environmental features on the Defendant polluter's property; i.e. standing has been used as a sword to cut-off or cripple the citizen suit to protect Michigan's environment, and to give Nestle and other businesses a license to destroy and pollute on their own property unless a citizen can show a specific interest in Defendant's property, such as use, aesthetics, recreation.

Nestle asked the Court to cripple the state's Michigan Environmental Protection Act ("MEPA"). And Nestle succeeded in damaging the rights of citizens to protect our water and water resources. The Court followed suit. It's decision is regressive, punitive, and illogical in the extreme. In 1963, citizens enacted a Constitution that mandates the legislature to pass laws to protect the environment as an important public interest to the health and welfare of people in the State. in 1970, our legislature passed a law, the MEPA, that granted citizens to maintain lawsuits against those who propose or act in ways that are likely to pollute, impair, or destroy the air, water or natural resources or the public trust. Why and how could an injured Plaintiff from Nestle's conduct not be able to maintain a lawsuit to protect all of the environment and water resources harmed by Nestle's pumping ? MCWC and the Doyles and Sapp families in the MCWC v Nestle case proved unreasonable harm from Nestles pumping. Once this has been shown, the law intends all harm can be stopped or controlled. For the Court to condone harm on a company's property is irrational. Such an approach ignores judicial restraint called for by the doctrine of separation of powers that is supposed to protect our constitution, the rights and interests protected by it, and the powers of the legislature to follow it. The approach by the Court condones the piecemeal, wholesale destruction, and ruin of Michigan's treasured and fabled water resources and the environment. Four justices have cast their vote in favor of big business and against individual property rights, citizens, our local governments and communities , and the waters, wetlands, and environment. In the bigger picture, these Justices have also cast their vote in favor of big business and squarely against all citizens and the community in which they live.

In addition, the Court's opinion fails to address the important water law issues before it, so critical to the people of Michigan, including groundwater, riparian, the public trust and future of the waters of the Great Lakes. The Court simply affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part the Court of Appeals decision, not stating what was affirmed, but stating only that it has ruled on the MEPA standing issue, and remanded that to the trial court. In my mind, this means, Plaintiffs will go back to circuit court to (a) address standing in the wetlands and Osprey Lake on Nestle's property, and (b) request the trial court to explain how the unreasonable harm, which is not in dispute, constitutes an impairment under the MEPA to the riparian and public waters of the stream and, if (a) is established, to the wetlands and Osprey Lake on Nestle's property. Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation and individually harmed plaintiffs will continue to fight for Michigan's water and related water resources and the public trust.

It's time for all citizens to take standing, our air, water and public trust into their hands. The Constitution is of and for the people. These issues belong to the people. It is time for massive unified action, without regard to our politics, to demand respect for and protection of the environment by the Supreme Court, since that's what our Constitution and laws demand. If necessary, this means citizens should petition to amend the Constitution of the state to make it clear to the Court, that when the people declare the environment is of paramount concern and the legislature shall pass laws to protect it, they mean it. This includes the authority to enact citizen suits without regard to the artificial barriers erected by the Court. Such barriers destroy our heritage, our water and natural resources, and communities. These matters should be a first priority on the agenda for the people in the State, and particularly landowners and private property owners who live on lakes and streams or near industry, and those with an interest in conservation, the environment, and the future health of our communities and quality of life.

In solidarity of the rights of citizens to vindicate the public interest as declared by our State Constitution,


Jim Olson
Attorney for Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation

"The Supreme Court's decision to not allow citizens to protect our water and water resources under the MEPA does not affect the water ruling of the Court of Appeals. MCWC still has standing and that Nestle's pumping still has been determined to be unlawful under common law and MEPA as to the Dead Stream, Thompson Lake, and adjacent wetlands. The remand order to restrict Nestle's pumping in the future remains unaffected." Terry Swier, Director, MCWC

US Congress Opposes BP Refinery Plan

This article was in the Detroit Free Press....

House says BP can't dump more pollutants

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly this afternoon to send a strong message opposing expansion plans by BP to dump more pollutants into Lake Michigan as part of its oil refinery expansion.

BP does not plan to delay the expansion of its refinery at Whiting, Ind., where the extra pollution would occur, but after a meeting between BP’s chairman and members of Congress from Great Lakes states, the company promised to continue a dialogue with the legislators and to review its options, said Scott Dean, spokesman for BP in Chicago....

Click here to read the rest of this article

The following article was in the Detroit News

BP lake discharges under fire
Lawmakers oppose company's plan to boost dumping of pollutants into Lake Michigan.

Deb Price And Gary Heinlein / The Detroit News

WASHINGTON -- Oil giant BP ran into fierce resistance Tuesday in Congress over its plan to dramatically increase daily discharges of ammonia and other pollutants from its Whiting, Ind., refinery into Lake Michigan.

"This is crazy. This is nuts," U.S. Rep. Candice Miller, R-Harrison Township, said during House debate on a resolution to condemn BP's plan and urge the federal Environmental Protection Agency to stop it.

Miller said the decision by Indiana and federal authorities to permit BP to dump more pollutants into Lake Michigan "marks a huge step backwards in our efforts to keep our Great Lakes clean."

Click here to read this article in the Detroit News

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Indiana Environmental chief should resign

Citizens in Whiting, Indiana are calling for Indiana Department of Environmental Management Commissioner Thomas Easterly to resign, claiming he has "failed to protect the public interest" regarding the increase of toxic pollution from the BP refinery directly into Lake Michigan.

The Hoosier Environmental Council will be asked to approve a resolution Saturday calling for Easterly's ouster. If it is approved, a "no-confidence" call will be presented at an Aug. 9 IDEM public hearing taking place at its regional office in Merrillville. The hearing is on a BP variance request to alter which portions of the plant can release smokestack particles.

Folks in Indiana are getting pissed. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. of Hammond, Indiana has stated his opposition to BP and says he's concerned that the BP Whiting Refinery is dumping near the intake pipe for city of Hammond drinking water. Hammond's Water Works supplies water to residents of Hammond and 10 other communities, including Munster and Lansing. The intake pipe is about a mile from where BP is proposing to increase its wastewater discharge.

Meanwhile, over here in West Michigan, a local radio station is broadcasting live today from a BP gas station in Cedar Springs, Michigan. This BP store is attempting to lure customers in by giving away its merchandise. Apparently the folks at BP are scared shitless, enough to start giving away the store in order to stay in business.

So, I'm going to write a letter to the Grand Rapids Press today asking local businesses to pull their advertising from this radio station until they apologize to the citizens of the Great Lakes for being such massive idiots. This is reprehensible and a blatant act of irresponsibility on the part of the radio station's management.

BP is a BAD corporate citizen. They've been lying for years, telling us how green they are. In fact, they've been poisoning Lake Michigan for decades. The time has come to tell them to shut down their refinery operation on the lakeshore.

See the related posts below regarding this issue.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Chicago Battles BP Refinery Over Lake Michigan Pollution

from the Chicago Tribune, July 19, 2007

The City of Chicago joined the fight Wednesday to stop the BP refinery in Whiting, Ind., from dumping significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan.

City administrators said they hope to meet with BP officials next week. They've hired a consultant to review the water permit granted by Indiana regulators that will allow BP, one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes, to dump 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day.

The word is out thanks to the Tribune. Let's continue to blog the boycott of BP and spread the word until they agree to stop polluting Lake Michigan. This is a winnable fight, BP is already on the defensive due to the public outcry being generated by the Tribune articles.

The Merriville Post-Tribune is running an article entitled BP Defends Permit.

This is the power of the internet kids. Let's crush them.

More to come.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

BP Increases Toxic Sludge Dumping into Lake Michigan

BP will now be allowed to dump an average of 1,584 pounds of ammonia and 4,925 pounds of sludge mixed with 21 million gallons of contaminated wastewater into Lake Michigan EVERY DAY. An immediate boycott of BP is necessary.

There are thousands upon thousands of people who get drinking water directly from Lake Michigan. This is a message for you folks who are ingesting BP's bullshit.

From the Tribune:
The massive BP oil refinery in Whiting, Ind., is planning to dump significantly more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan, running counter to years of efforts to clean up the Great Lakes.

Indiana regulators exempted BP from state environmental laws to clear the way for a $3.8 billion expansion that will allow the company to refine heavier Canadian crude oil. They justified the move in part by noting the project will create 80 new jobs.

Under BP's new state water permit, the refinery—already one of the largest polluters along the Great Lakes—can release 54 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more sludge into Lake Michigan each day. Ammonia promotes algae blooms that can kill fish, while sludge is full of concentrated heavy metals...

BP, which aggressively markets itself as an environmentally friendly corporation, is investing heavily in Canadian crude oil to reduce its reliance on sources in the Middle East. Extracting petroleum from the thick goop is a dirtier process than conventional methods. It also requires more energy that could significantly increase greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Environmental groups and dozens of neighbors pleaded with BP to install more effective pollution controls at the nation's fourth-largest refinery, which rises above the lakeshore about 3 miles southeast of the Illinois-Indiana border...

State and federal regulators, though, agreed last month with the London-based company that there isn't enough room at the 1,400-acre site to upgrade the refinery's water treatment plant.

This is the purest example of corporate green washing. We've been hearing from BP for years now about how green they are becoming and how sustainable their operations are. Well, it's an outright lie. BP is poisoning Lake Michigan, the water you swim in and drink. This is not some remote oil spill in Alaska, this is right in our backyard.


Do the math:
1584 pounds of ammonia per day multiplied by 365 days equals 578,160 pounds per year, and 5,781,600lbs in the next decade.

4925 pounds of toxic sludge multiplied by 365 days equals 1,797,625 pounds per year, or 17,976,250 pounds over the next 10 years.

The Grand Total? 23,757,850 pounds of BP bullshit.

At 21 million gallons of contamintated water per day, they will pollute 76,650,000,000 gallons of fresh water in the next ten years.

Read the Chicago Tribune article for yourself, get motivated and get involved: Chicago Tribune
Published July 15, 2007

Friday, July 13, 2007

Bush Administration to Slaughter Recovering Wolf Population

The Bush Administration has just issued plan that will order the extermination of half the gray wolves in Wyoming and Idaho, starting in October. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is accepting public comments on this proposal until August 6.

Our best hope for blocking this "open fire" order is to generate a tidal wave of public outrage and please sign your send your comments immediately.

In preparation for these mass killings, the government has already purchased planes and helicopters capable of gunning down entire packs of wolves in minutes. The goal is to immediately kill up to 700 wolves in Greater Yellowstone and central Idaho.

Only three months ago, online activists sent more than 137,000 comments protesting the Bush Administration's plan to remove Greater Yellowstone's wolves from the endangered species list. But even before that issue has been decided, the Bush Administration is declaring open season on wolves.

They will order the slaughter to begin while wolves are still on the Endangered Species list.

The administration wants to be able to kill wolves anywhere that elk herd numbers may be affected by wolves. It is focusing on areas where elk herds are smaller than the states want.

But those few cases of declines in elk herds have been caused by a combination of factors including habitat destruction, drought and human hunting -- not just by wolves. In most areas of the northern Rockies, elk numbers are at all-time highs!

Please block this newest disgraceful act by Washington by expressing your personal opposition while the Bush Administration is still taking public input.

Submit your comments now by clicking on the big red "Take Action" button. Help protect the wolves of Greater Yellowstone and Idaho from the coming gunfire.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Your Water, Your Rights, Your Future

Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation Releases Report About Problems with Bottled Water

Choosing tap water over bottled water is better for consumers’ health, their pocketbooks, and the environment, according to a new report written by Food & Water Watch and released today by Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation who has been battling the spring water bottled giant NestlĂ© Waters North America (Ice Mountain) for over six years.

In 2005, Americans spent $8.8 billion for almost 7.2 billion gallons of non-sparkling bottled water. In 2006, they drank even more, about 26 gallons per person. The bottled water industry spends billions on advertising that promises purity in a bottle while implying that tap water is somehow less safe, something that is simply not true, according to the report.

“Bottled water generally is no cleaner, or safer, or healthier than tap water. In fact, the federal government requires far more rigorous and frequent safety testing and monitoring of municipal drinking water,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter. “Rather than buying into this myth of purity in a bottle, consumers should drink from the tap.”

In the trial of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation v Nestle Waters North America, the taking of spring water by Nestle, Ice Mountain, is diminishing the flow and level of a stream and two lakes, and reducing the stream width according to the Mecosta County Circuit Court. The Court of Appeals upheld the trial court's factual findings and Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is awaiting an opinion from the Michigan Supreme Court. When you drink bottled spring water, you are drinking water that would feed the headwaters of a stream. “Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is hoping that other cities in Michigan follow Ann Arbor's lead after it adopted 'The Resolution to Drink Tap Water' on June 6, 2007 and promote drinking tap water,” said Terry Swier, president of Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation.

Among the facts highlighted in Food & Water Watch’s report, Take Back the Tap, are the following:

  • Bottled water costs hundreds or thousands of times more than tap water. Compare $0.002 per gallon for most tap water to a range of $0.89 to $8.26 per gallon for bottled waters.
  • The Food and Drug Administration regulates only the 30 to 40 percent of bottled water sold across state lines.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency requires up to several hundred water tests per month by utility companies while the FDA requires only one water test per week by bottling companies.
  • Nearly 40 percent of bottled water is simply filtered or treated tap water.
  • U.S. plastic bottle production requires more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars.
  • About 86 percent of the empty plastic water bottles in the United States land in the garbage instead of being recycled.

    But just kicking the bottle in favor of the tap is not enough, says Food & Water Watch. Our nation’s public water and sewer infrastructure is old and in the coming years will need billions of dollars of investment to maintain and further improve treatment, storage, and distribution. Each year we fall more than $20 billion short of what is needed to maintain our public water and sewage systems.

    “It’s time for Congress to establish a clean water trust fund that would give communities the financial help they need to invest in healthy and safe drinking water for every American and for future generations,” Hauter said.

    Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation joined Food & Water Watch to encourage consumers in Michigan and across the United States to take back the tap by choosing tap water over bottled water whenever possible and supporting increased funding for safe and affordable public tap water.

    The report is posted at

    Individuals can pledge to Take Back the Tap at

    Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer rights group based in Washington, D.C. that challenges the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources. Visit

    Michigan Citizens for Water Conservation is a nonprofit group based in Mecosta, MI organized to conserve, preserve, and protect Michigan’s natural water resources and the public trust in those natural resources. Find them at
  • Watch This.

    Thanks to Liberal Lucy for this. I am her secret admirer.

    Saturday, July 07, 2007

    Big Ideas

    I've been sick on the couch for a couple days, not moving much, so I've had the time to check out the Sundance Channel's new documentary series Big Ideas for a Small Planet. I can't recommended this highly enough, these short half-hour programs are filled with fascinating information. The show "focuses on environmental topics with interviews with forward-thinking designers and features on green products and alternative ideas that may transform our everyday lives." Check it out. It made me feel better.

    Click the logo to learn more, and to watch a few clips from recent episodes.

    The Conservative Minority, Continuing Decline

    Media Matters and Campaign for America's Future have just completed a new joint report called, "The Progressive Majority: Why a Conservative America is a Myth."

    The report uses non-partisan polling data gathered over the course of 20 years to show that conventional wisdom that Americans are overwhelmingly conservative is simply wrong.

    The United States – regardless of how the current corporate media portrays it – is a progressive nation that is getting more progressive, including Michigan.

    Michigan Polling Data:
    1. “Providing health insurance for people who do not already have it—should the federal government spend more on it, the same as now, less, or no money at all?” Percent answering “More”: 74%

    2. The federal government helping to pay for health insurance for all children—do you favor or oppose this? Percent answering “favor”: 83%

    3. “The federal government helping employers pay the cost of their workers’ health insurance—do you favor or oppose this?” Percent answering “favor”: 69%

    4. “Providing financial assistance to public elementary and secondary schools—should the federal government spend more on it, the same as now, less, or no money at all?” Percent answering “more”: 68%

    5. “The federal government trying to reduce the income differences between rich and poor Americans—do you favor or oppose the federal government doing this?” Percent favoring: 56%

    6. “The federal government banning all abortions—do you favor or oppose the federal government doing this?” Percent opposed: 63%

    7. “Would you favor or oppose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution saying that no state can allow two men to marry each other or two women to marry each other?” Favor: 42% Oppose: 48%

    8. “Restricting the kinds of guns that people can buy—should the federal government do more about it, do the same as now, do less about it, or do nothing at all?” Percent answering “more”: 53%

    Follow the logic. It makes sense that Michigan businesses should promote themselves as progressive and let their customers know of their progressive values.

    Positive Move, But Why Wait So Long?

    Two congressmen from Illinois announced legislation Thursday that, starting in 2027, could quadruple fines for cities that release sewage into the Great Lakes.

    The legislation by Republican Rep. Mark Kirk and Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski also would start a fund to help pay for wastewater treatment and wetland restoration.

    More Info

    Friday, July 06, 2007

    Dow Corp: They are the problem, not the solution

    Press Release from the Michigan DEQ, here's the latest on the ongoing battle against Dow Chemical.

    Dow to Begin Cleanup Work in Tittabawassee River

    The Dow Chemical Company will begin work next week to remove a deposit of contaminated sediments in the Tittabawassee River, just upstream of the Dow Dam in Midland. The sediments are contaminated with high levels of dioxins and furans, chlorobenzenes, metals, and other materials.

    A coffer dam will be constructed in the river to contain the materials and facilitate its removal, and boaters and fishermen are advised to maintain a safe distance from construction activities.

    The Department of Environmental Quality and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued a revised permit for Dow to construct the steel dam structure as a component of an Interim Response Activity that requires Dow to remove the contaminated material from the river. The permit was revised to address contamination that was found outside of the footprint of the original project area. In addition, Dow has also been constructing a mile and a half long pipeline and a sediment dewatering facility on the Dow plant site over the past several months. After dewatering, the sediments will be disposed of in the Dow Salzburg Road Landfill. The coffer dam will be removed at the end of the project.

    The “Reach D” deposit of highly contaminated sediments was identified during the implementation of the corrective action sampling plan for the upper six miles of the Tittabawassee River during 2006, and the cleanup process was agreed upon prior to EPA's recent order. An additional eleven miles of the river, to the State Road Bridge in Saginaw County, is scheduled for sampling in 2007.

    Why do we trust that the people who poison rivers and land will be responsible enough to clean it up? The fox is in the hen house...

    MORE INFORMATION, this multi-year fight continues:

  • Dioxin Exposure in Adults Living in the Tittabawassee River Flood Plain

  • Midland/Tittabawassee River Dioxin Information
  • Tittawabassee River Watch
  • Dredge It Right!
  • Support the Lone Tree Council in their fight against Dow Chemical. Check them out at