Oil sands plan said to draw fire

To process heavy Alberta crude, BP wants to dump up to 50% more pollutants into Lake Michigan, angering some - report.


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Plans to process a heavy grade of crude oil from oil sands in the Canadian province of Alberta have sparked a nasty battle in the Midwest, where some politicians are angry that the move will increase pollution in the Great Lakes, according to a report Wednesday.

To process oil from the oil sands, which is heavier and requires more refining than most grades of crude, British oil giant BP (Charts) plans on dumping 50 percent more ammonia and 35 percent more suspended solids into Lake Michigan from its refinery in Whiting, Ind., according to an article on washingtonpost.com.

BP and officials in Indiana say the $3 billion refinery expansion is needed to boost the local economy, but officials in neighboring Illinois say it will foul the lake, the article said.

"We've made dramatic improvements in the environmental quality of Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes," Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.), told the Post. "It would be unbelievably harmful to allow the first increase in dumping pollution in the Great Lakes in 10 or 15 years."

Indiana officials say the increase in pollution is still only half of what is allowed under federal law, and say BP is the victim of a political agenda.

"People in other states are seeing this as an opportunity to grandstand on an issue that has no scientific basis," Vincent Griffin, vice president of energy and environmental affairs for the Indiana Chamber of Commerce, told the Post.

Heavy crude oil is expected to make up a growing percentage of the world's overall oil supplies as lighter grades are exhausted. But critics say they cause more pollution when extracted and refined. Top of page

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Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.