On Sunday, June 25th BP experienced an operational disruption at their Whiting refinery that triggered a prolonged flaring event and produced a pungent sulfur-like odor that could be smelled throughout Lake, Porter, and La Porte counties. On Monday the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) inspected the refinery and reported that the excess gas emitted was comprised of mostly sulfur dioxide (SO2) and some hydrogen sulfide (H2S). The operational disruption was caused by a severe storm that resulted in a partial power outage at the refinery. You can read more about this incident HERE.
Save the Dunes is very concerned about this most recent air pollution incident. It is possible that the excess gas emitted coupled with weather related factors that day contributed to the unusually large geographic impact. Under the Clean Air Act, BP is required to report emissions exceedances. We have been in direct contact with both BP and IDEM as well as our environmental partners about what occurred and plan to share IDEMs inspection report once it is made publicly available.
Save the Dunes was an intervenor on the 2012 BP Consent Decree and recently approved modifications to that settlement so that a new, more far reaching 2023 Consent Decree could move forward. This new Consent Decree resulted in a $40 million civil penalty as well as $197 million in air pollution control improvement for the Whiting Refinery such as the installation of a benzene stripper. This recent event only further emphasizes the importance of air pollution control improvements and the necessity of safeguards to prevent such events in the future. You can read our full statement about this monumental settlement on our website.