BP workers and state and federal officials are cleaning up Lake Michigan after crude oil from the company was spilled into the body of water Monday afternoon.
According to BP, 10 to 12 barrels, or approximately 420 gallons, of oil made its way into the lake as a result of a processing error at the BP Whiting refinery in Indiana around 4:30 p.m. Monday. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Coast Guard, and Indiana Department of Environmental Management were informed of the spill and made it on the scene that afternoon. BP is reportedly using a boom to move the oil back towards the shoreline, where vacuum trucks are removing the spilled crude.
U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) released a joint statement about the spill, expressing concern about the plant's operations.
“We are encouraged to learn that the source of the spill has been closed, the oil is contained and conditions on Lake Michigan are such that the impact of the spill could be minimal. We also understand that work to remove the oil from the Lake is well underway,” the senators statement reads. “However, three weeks ago, BP announced a plan to nearly double its processing of heavy crude oil at its BP Whiting Refinery. Given today’s events and BP’s decision to increase production, we are extremely concerned about the possibility of a future spill that may not be so easily contained.”