"We have participated in an open and transparent permitting process with the State of Indiana and obtained a valid permit that meets all regulatory standards and is protective of water quality and human health," said BP America Chairman and President Bob Malone in the statement. "Even so, ongoing regional opposition to any increase in discharge permit limits for Lake Michigan creates an unacceptable level of business risk for this $3.8 billion investment."
BP has obtained regulatory approval to increase average daily discharge limits for ammonia from 1,030 to 1,584 pounds per day and for total suspended solids (TSS) from 3,646 to 4,925 pounds per day to modernize the Whiting refinery and greatly increase the amount of Canadian heavy crude it can process.
During the next 18 months, BP will continue to seek issuance of other permits, continue project design, and explore options for operating within the lower discharge limits. BP America notified the State of Indiana of its decision and reiterated its dedication to the proposed refinery expansion.
Malone's statement added that they were not aware of existing technology that would keep them at the lower limits while progressing with their proposed expansion. But, he added, they would "work to develop a project that allows us to do so. If necessary changes to the project result in a material impact to project viability, we could be forced to cancel it."
BP has agreed to participate with the Purdue Calumet Water Institute and the Argonne National Laboratory in a joint effort to identify and evaluate emerging technologies with the potential to improve wastewater treatment across the Great Lakes.
Malone announced today that BP will provide a $5 million grant to Purdue University to help underwrite the research effort.
The $3.8 billion project is designed to increase the amount of Canadian heavy crude processed at the more than 400,000 barrel-per-day refinery from 30 to 90 percent and creates the capacity to increase production of clean fuels by 1.7 million gallons a day. The project would create 2,000 construction jobs and 80 permanent jobs.