Chicago environmental groups rally in response to BP oil spill in Lake Michigan

Editor’s note: The following release is endorsed by Global Climate Convergence, CAPOW, Tarsands Free Midwest, NEIS, ISO, System Change Not Climate Change, Rising Tide Chicago and Michigan Coalition Against Tarsands.

CHICAGO — Monday afternoon, March 24, an estimated 500 gallons of oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, leaked into Lake Michigan, poisoning the source of drinking water for 7 million people in and around Chicago.

The BP refinery on the lake’s shore has admitted responsibility, but has yet to take sufficient action to ensure the safety of drinking water and the ecosystem.

This serves as further evidence that the reliance on fossil fuels in all its forms has serious and long-term effects on the health of the planet and the people who inhabit it. This is doubly true in the case of the processing of tar sands that goes on at BP’s Whiting facility. This most current spill comes after years of legal challenges to the Whiting plant, which is one of the largest sources of industrial pollution in the nation.

Alternative energy sources are available, and we call on our local and federal governments to immediately expedite this transition. Failure to do so will only lead to further spills and environmental devastation. We don’t want another Deepwater Horizon on the shores of Chicago, and yet, with this spill, BP demonstrates again that they put their profits above the lives of the people who inhabit our city and our world.

An emergency action at BP’s Chicago offices has been called by the Global Climate Convergence (GCC) and local environmental groups to demand that BP be held accountable.

The GCC, in conjunction with multiple environmental organizations, issues the following demands:

1. The EPA immediately begins testing our water to ensure that it is safe to drink, and publishes their findings.

2. BP is returned to the federal no-contract list — which they were removed from only THIS month following their contamination of the Gulf Coast — so that public money does not fund their damage to the ecosystem.

3. BP may no longer divert resources from the public — e.g. the use of contracted police officers to prevent citizens from entering the land that has been contaminated — to shield themselves from warranted investigation.

4. The city of Chicago becomes a green-energy leader by shifting our energy sources to 100 percent renewables-based.

We believe that this is only the first of many oil spills to come, following the recently initiated processing of tar sands oil, unless we take a stand against such careless corporations.

Join us to defend our planet, our communities, and our water. Learn more at

Posted March 28, 2014

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