Indiana’s Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) is hosting a public meeting about renewing the air permit for BP’s Whiting Facility on Thursday, February 22nd, 2024 at 6pm. The meeting will be an opportunity for IDEM’s staff to describe the draft air permit and answer questions from citizens, and will not include formal testimony.

Why does this matter? Background on the issue:

There have been a host of problems at BP’s Whiting Facility, both in recent months and in previous years.

BP’s largest refinery, located in Whiting, IN, submitted an application IDEM to renew its five-year air permit. Our partners at the Environmental Law and Policy Center have described the permit application as woefully incomplete, not including vital documents like an emergency response plan, preventative maintenance plan, and a leak detection plan.

The facility, which spans several communities, including Hammond, Whiting, and East Chicago, has had several leaks so far this year because of equipment failures, creating local air quality issues. There was also a power failure at the facility on February 2nd, resulting in the evacuation and temporary shutdown of the facility, and unplanned gas flaring causing tall flames and thick black smoke. Residents in the area have reported both an acrid odor and negative health effects like headaches and eye irritation because of this flaring.

Last week, a public meeting about BP’s air permit scheduled at East Chicago Central High School was abruptly cancelled just before the meeting was set to begin, frustrating the approximately 100 residents who had assembled to attend. While IDEM directed comments and questions about the cancellation to the school district for East Chicago, the district said that IDEM had failed to provide adequate security to cover the event.

Take Action: Here’s what you can do:

Want to take action for air quality, and environmental health and justice in Northwest Indiana? Here are some steps you can take:

  1. Attend the meeting next week: Thursday, February 22nd at 6pm CT at Calumet College of St. Joseph (2400 New York Ave, Rm 200, Whiting, IN 46394)
  2. Submit written public comments on BP’s air permit renewal application. Check out these resources on how to submit public comments from the Environmental Law and Policy Center.
  3. Stay in the loop: follow these groups in NW Indiana:
Additional Resources: