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Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style

Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style. Cheryl A. Heinz, Benedictine University. In the beginning…. September 21, 2006 Michael Puente, reporting for Chicago Public Radio reports:.

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Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style

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  1. Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style Cheryl A. Heinz, Benedictine University

  2. In the beginning… • September 21, 2006 • Michael Puente, reporting for Chicago Public Radio reports:

  3. “Yesterday's announcement by British Petroleum that its investing $3 billion dollars in its Whiting, Indiana, refinery continues a winning streak of sorts for Northwest Indiana.”

  4. “Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels visits Northwest Indiana almost weekly to make some sort of big gesture. Yesterday, Daniels helped announce the expansion that will allow the company to process heavy Canadian crude oil. Construction and staffing the expansion are expected to create 2,500 new jobs for the area.”

  5. “Daniels says BP's investment is the latest in a string of new businesses or investment in the area. ‘We have said over and over to all our fellow citizens that every one of the 6.3 million Hoosiers has a stake in a stronger Northwest Indiana. We will only be the great state we want to be when this corner of our state reaches its full potential.’"

  6. “The governor says the state has offered incentives that make doing business in Northwest Indiana affordable and attractive.”

  7. The score so far … • Money: $3 billion dollars from British Petroleum • Unknown incentives from state • Jobs: 2,500

  8. CQ#1: Are all of the costs of an expansion accounted for? • Definitely yes • Maybe yes • I’m not sure • Maybe not • Definitely not

  9. CQ#2: How many people drink Lake Michigan water? • 2 million • 4 million • 6 million • 8 million • 10 million • 12 million

  10. How many peopledrink Lake Michigan water? The Chicago area alone represents about 6 million people hooked into the Lake Michigan water supply. (And many “collar” counties do not receive Lake Michigan water!)

  11. More from WBEZ Eight Forty-Eight 7/18/2007, Speaking to Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune “License to Dump?” http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/license-dump

  12. CQ#3: Which nutrient level in the lake is expected to be most affected by this refinery expansion? • Carbon • Water • Nitrogen • Sulfur • Phosphorus • None of the above

  13. Indiana Agency responds City Room, produced by Michael Puente, Saturday, July 21, 2007 “Indiana Agency Defends BP Approval” http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/indiana-agency-defends-bp-approval

  14. CQ#4: Can increased pollution be allowed in a major source of drinking water? • Unqualified yes • Qualified yes • Uncertain • Qualified no • Unqualified no

  15. How can we understand the possible effects? • Scientists who study how nutrients (and pollutants) cycle through the environment are generally biogeochemists.

  16. General schematic: Nutrient cycling

  17. Nutrient cycles • Compartments: ways of subdividing an ecosystem; are very flexible in definition. • Can be “plants” in one scheme, “sunflowers” in the next, and “Helianthis tuberosa” in another. • Different compartments can be at different levels: “Grasses” in one compartment and “Lions” in another.

  18. Generalized nutrient cycle schematic

  19. A little more detail…

  20. Nutrient cycles • For a nutrient to cycle globally, there must be a volatile phase: • Phosphorus cycles locally • Stays within an ecosystem • Not very mobile • No mechanism for long-distance travel • Nitrogen cycles globally • N2 gas moves easily from place to place

  21. 0 CQ#5: Does water cycle locally or globally? • Locally • Globally • I’d have to guess

  22. Global water cycle

  23. CQ#6: To what extent is the refinery expansion expected to affect the water cycle? • Greatly • Some • A little • Not at all

  24. Generalized case of nutrient cycling through a forest

  25. Global nitrogen cycle

  26. CQ#7: Where will the refinery impact the nitrogen cycle the most? • More nitrogen in the air (N2) • More nitrogen in the water • More nitrogen in the soil • All of the above • None of the above

  27. Cycling nutrients Besides water, phosphorus, nitrogen, & carbon, sulfur also cycles through our environment. Wet deposition = acid rain

  28. Some numbers • BP says it would increase CO2 emissions by 20% (though their own studies range up to 50%) • The equivalent of another 200,000 to 400,000 more cars in terms of air pollution • Nitrous oxides could exceed limits by 11 times • Carbon monoxide by 5 times Source: http://www.progressillinois.com/2008/06/30/bp-emissions-higher-than-claimed

  29. Global carbon cycle

  30. CQ#8: Where will the refinery impact the carbon cycle the most? • More carbon dioxide in the air (CO2) • More carbon in the water • More carbon in the soil • Same impact in air, water, and soil • No effect on the carbon cycle

  31. Some numbers • Into the lake: • 54% more ammonia (NH3) • 35% more sludge (suspended solids) • Into the air: • 20-50% more CO2 • Nitrous oxides 11 times the limit • Carbon monoxide 5 times the limit

  32. CQ#9: Which cycle(s) will be most impacted by the refinery expansion? • Water cycle • Carbon cycle • Sulfur cycle • Nitrogen cycle • All of the above • None of the above

  33. EPA steps in City Room, produced by Michael Puente, 1 Aug 2007 “EPA Has No Plans to Stop BP Chemical Dump” http://www.wbez.org/story/news/epa-has-no-plans-stop-bp-chemical-dump

  34. Mayor Daley’s reaction City Room, produced by Mike Rhee, 1 Aug 2007 “Mayor Daley Says BP Dumping Unacceptable” http://www.wbez.org/story/news/mayor-daley-says-bp-dumping-unacceptable

  35. CQ#10: Over time, does Indiana stand to gain from the expansion? • Proximately yes, ultimately yes • Proximately yes, ultimately no • Proximately no, ultimately yes • Proximately no, ultimately no • Not sure

  36. Why Indiana said yes City Room, produced by Michael Puente, 3 Aug 2007 “Jobs Versus Environment in Northwest Indiana” http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/jobs-versus-environment-northwest-indiana

  37. What other states border the lake? • Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. • It is the only Great Lake that is entirely within the U.S.

  38. CQ#11: Should Indiana be allowed to make exceptions for companies polluting the lake? • Yes, unconditionally • Yes, under certain conditions • No, unconditionally • No, under certain conditions

  39. What’s to lose? City room, Produced by Michael Puente, 29 Aug 2007 “BP In Trouble Again” http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/bp-trouble-again

  40. Updating the score • BP will not release nitrogen or sludge into the lake • But it will continue to release the same levels of air pollution • With the State of Indiana’s permission • Excusing it from Federal laws requiring a reduction

  41. Where is this story now? City Room, produced by Michael Puente, 25 June 2008 “Court Battle to Continue Against BP” http://www.wbez.org/story/news/local/court-battle-continue-against-bp

  42. CQ#12: How would you resolve this issue? • Allow the expansion with no limits on increased air or water pollutants • Allow the expansion with limits on water pollutants only • Allow the expansion with limits on air pollutants only • Allow the expansion with limits on both air and water pollutants • Deny the expansion

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