BP Raises Estimate of Lake Michigan Oil Spill

Preliminary estimate from BP shows between 15 and 39 barrels of oil have been recovered

Oil giant BP has raised its estimate of how much crude oil spilled into Lake Michigan during a malfunction at its northwestern Indiana refinery.

BP said Thursday a preliminary estimate shows between 15 and 39 barrels of oil have been recovered from the lake at its Whiting refinery. That's between 630 and 1,638 gallons.

The new figure is up from BP's initial estimate that nine to 18 barrels of oil entered the lake.

BP says its crews have recovered "the vast majority" of oil visible along the shoreline.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says EPA and U.S. Coast Guard staffers oversaw cleanup work at the spill site again Thursday, but bad weather prevented them from deploying boats into the lake.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said a malfunction at BP's Whiting Refinery in Indiana was discovered around 4:30 p.m. Monday. It resulted in the discharge of crude oil from the refinery's cooling water outfall into the cove between the waste water treatment plant and the steel mill.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel said this week he wants a "complete report" from BP about the spill.

"I expect a full accounting to the public and the city of Chicago of the damage that was done, how much, what the cleanup efforts were, how comprehensive they have been and what actions the company will take to ensure this doesn't happen again."

Illinois lawmakers, including Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, have asked for a meeting with BP.

“Any unanticipated spill is cause for concern," Durbin and Kirk said in a joint statement, "but given the Whiting refinery’s recent expansion of its operations to double the amount of heavy oil sands being processed, this spill raises questions about the long-term safety and reliability of BP’s new, expanded production at Whiting."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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