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

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Presentation on theme: "Nutrient Cycles and Pollution, Lake Michigan Style Cheryl A. Heinz, Benedictine University 1."— Presentation transcript:

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

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

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.” 3

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.” 4

5 “Daniels says BP's investment is the latest in a string of new businesses or investment in the area. 5 ‘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.” 6

7 The score so far … 7 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? A.Definitely yes B.Maybe yes C.I’m not sure D.Maybe not E.Definitely not 8

9 CQ#2: How many people drink Lake Michigan water? A.2 million B.4 million C.6 million D.8 million E.10 million F.12 million 9

10 How many people drink 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!) 10

11 More from WBEZ 11 Eight Forty-Eight 7/18/2007, Speaking to Michael Hawthorne of the Chicago Tribune “License to Dump?”

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

13 Indiana Agency responds 13 City Room, produced by Michael Puente, Saturday, July 21, 2007 “Indiana Agency Defends BP Approval”

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

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

16 General schematic: Nutrient cycling 16

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. 17

18 Generalized nutrient cycle schematic 18

19 A little more detail… 19

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 – N 2 gas moves easily from place to place 20

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

22 Global water cycle 22

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

24 24 Generalized case of nutrient cycling through a forest

25 Global nitrogen cycle 25

26 CQ#7: Where will the refinery impact the nitrogen cycle the most? A.More nitrogen in the air (N 2 ) B.More nitrogen in the water C.More nitrogen in the soil D.All of the above E.None of the above 26

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

28 Some numbers BP says it would increase CO 2 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: 28

29 Global carbon cycle 29

30 CQ#8: Where will the refinery impact the carbon cycle the most? A.More carbon dioxide in the air (CO 2 ) B.More carbon in the water C.More carbon in the soil D.Same impact in air, water, and soil E.No effect on the carbon cycle 30

31 Some numbers Into the lake: – 54% more ammonia (NH 3 ) – 35% more sludge (suspended solids) Into the air: – 20-50% more CO 2 – Nitrous oxides 11 times the limit – Carbon monoxide 5 times the limit 31

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

33 EPA steps in 33 City Room, produced by Michael Puente, 1 Aug 2007 “EPA Has No Plans to Stop BP Chemical Dump”

34 Mayor Daley’s reaction 34 City Room, produced by Mike Rhee, 1 Aug 2007 “Mayor Daley Says BP Dumping Unacceptable”

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

36 Why Indiana said yes 36 City Room, produced by Michael Puente, 3 Aug 2007 “Jobs Versus Environment in 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. 37

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

39 What’s to lose? 39 City room, Produced by Michael Puente, 29 Aug 2007 “BP In 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 40

41 Where is this story now? 41 City Room, produced by Michael Puente, 25 June 2008 “Court Battle to Continue Against BP”

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


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