Oil Sands Truth: Shut Down the Tar Sands

Whiting Indiana hosts Earth Day event

Whiting hosts Earth Day event
Sunday, April 20, 2008

WHITING | A San Francisco-based environmentalist on Saturday encouraged a group gathered at an Earth Day event to get involved to make a difference.

"Industry is unaccountable. ... On the other side we're seeing people stand up to them when they get organized and get educated. You're invincible," said Ruth Breech, of Global Community Monitor.

Breech was among a group of national and international experts on tar sands and refinery issues who came to speak at an all-day event that included a rally at Whiting Park and a tour of the area's environmental hot spots.

The panel of speakers included Canadian-based Macdonald Stainsby, of Oil Sands Truth; Denny Larson, of Global Community Monitor, and Nile Malloy, of Rainforest Action Network.

The focus of the event was to draw attention to the challenges that lie ahead in the wake of the proposed BP refinery tar sand $3.8 billion expansion, according to Bessie Dent, of the Calumet Project, whose organization was host.

"The Whiting area is already overburdened with pollution," Dent said. "BP tar sands pollution mean more asthma and sickness for the community. We can have safe jobs and clean air when BP steps up to be a good neighbor."

Larson said a chief problem with BP's project is the Canadian tar sands from which the company will extract oil, which he called destructive to the environment.

He and others say they've lost hope that the Indiana Department of Environmental Management will fix what they deem are problems with BP's air plans, accusing the agency of being irresponsible and rushing the permit.

"BP needs to put their money where their mouth is," Larson said.

BP has said the group has not shared its concerns with the refinery, and it has repeatedly said complaints about the permitting process are not accurate.

"The process has not been rushed," spokesman Tom Keilman said last week. "We believe we have followed all the necessary and required regulatory requirements to move forward with the permit."

IDEM spokesman Rob Elstro said last week the agency's process, including its responses during comment periods, has followed state rules requiring the agency to issue permits within a set time frame.


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