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Region 5 to convene Lake Michigan summit on BP Whiting issues; 3:15 p.m. press conference will follow

Release Date: 08/15/2007
Contact Information: Anne Rowan, (312) 353-9391, rowan.anne@epa.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
No. 07-OPA140

CHICAGO (Aug. 14, 2007) - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regional Administrator Mary A. Gade is convening a Lake Michigan Summit meeting on Wednesday in Chicago. This will provide an opportunity for key officials and stakeholders to present BP representatives with their suggestions on minimizing discharges to Lake Michigan from the company's Whiting, Ind., refinery.

"The Great Lakes are vitally important to this country and the people in it. We all care about Lake Michigan and its future," said Regional Administrator Gade. "As the agency with the ultimate responsibility for protecting the Great Lakes, we at EPA believe it is time to get beyond the headlines and emotion and begin a more practical discussion."

The Lake Michigan Summit will bring together concerned parties to begin an open discussion about practical ways to reduce or minimize BP's wastewater discharge.
"While BP has a valid state permit, the company is willing to listen, and I am hopeful that we will find workable strategies for going beyond compliance. EPA has several options we plan to propose," added Ms. Gade.

Region 5 has invited representatives from BP, the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin as well as the City of Chicago and Cook County along with leaders of environmental groups and members of Congress.

So far, confirmed participants include: BP America Vice Chairman Stephen Elbert; Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management Commissioner Thomas Easterly; Chicago Environment Commissioner Sadhu Johnston; Cook County Commissioner Michael Quigley: Cameron Davis, president of the Alliance for the Great Lakes; and Tom Anderson, executive director of Indiana's Save the Dunes Council. Representatives from the offices of U.S. Sens. Richard Durbin (Ill.), Barack Obama (Ill.), Evan Bayh (Ind.), and Russell Feingold (Wis.), and U.S. Reps. Judy Biggert (Ill.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Peter Visclosky (Ind.), and Fred Upton (Mich.) have also accepted.

At 3:15 p.m., EPA officials and participants will take questions from the media on the 12th floor of the Metcalfe Federal Bldg., 77 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago. Reporters will have to check in at the security desk in the lobby.

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