"Community Is Torn Over Expansion of Oil Refinery"

In Whiting, Indiana, and across the Midwest, old refineries are being expanded to process the crude oil expected from Canada's tar sands. Citizens near BP's century-old refinery in Whiting are concerned that it will harm their health.

"Steve Kozel was 7 in August 1955 when the Standard Oil refinery near his family’s Whiting, Ind., home was badly damaged by a huge explosion and fire. His father, who worked at the nearby Sinclair oil refinery, had been planning to buy a house in Whiting. “My mother said no way,” Mr. Kozel said, and they moved farther away.

Now BP, the British oil giant, owns the century-old Standard refinery, the largest inland oil refinery in the United States. And Mr. Kozel, who still lives in northwest Indiana and is president of a citizens group called the Calumet Project, still worries that it will harm his health. He and other residents of the area are especially concerned now that the refinery is undergoing a large expansion to process more Canadian tar sands oil by 2013.

Across the Midwest, refineries like BP are expanding to process the tar sands oil — heavy, gooey oil mixed with sand in vast deposits that will be shipped via pipeline from Alberta. Tar sands oil is expected to be a staple of this country’s energy future."

Kari Lydersen reports for the Chicago News Cooperative September 15, 2011.

Source: Chicago News Co-op, 09/16/2011