BP Spills Tar Sands, or Heavy Crude Oil, into Lake Michigan

We already know that BP- along with its buddies at Exxon- have a terrible track record for public safety. In an industry that is exceedingly hypocritical and out-of-touch, however, we’ve come to expect semantics to take the place of sanity, and this week’s BP oil spill in Lake Michigan is no exception.

After the 2010 Kalamazoo River spill, the companies involved debated over what type oil had spilled ensued. At the time, Chicago-based investigative journalist Kari Lydersen coined it the “tar sands name game.” “Linguistic gymnastics around the definition of tar sands have a long history,” she wrote. “Industry officials have sought to avoid the increasingly negative connotations of tar sands extraction, which has a devastating effect on boreal forests and produces huge carbon emissions.”

Today, BP is calling the particularly nasty tar sands they spilled into the lake “heavy crude”. Like the Kalamazoo spill that’s still not cleaned up, the Lake Michigan spill will prove tough to straighten out, since- indeed!- the “heavy” crude is heavy, and will sink to the bottom of the lake, choking off life there that feeds the life on the surface. It’s terrible, in other words, and I bet none of these manipulative big-oil execs will end up being prison bitches because of it … which is a shame.

Here’s more on the story in an excellent, in-depth article that originally appeared on the DeSmogBlog. Enjoy!


BP Lake Michigan Oil Spill: Did Tar Sands Spill into the Great Lake? (via Desmogblog)

Fri, 2014-03-28 09:48Steve Horn Is it conventional crude or tar sands? That is the question. And it’s one with high stakes, to boot.  The BP Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled between 470 and 1228 gallons of oil (or is it tar sands?) into Lake…

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.