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BP Oil Leaks Into Lake Michigan (Because The Gulf Coast Wasn't Enough)

By Kevin Robinson in News on Mar 25, 2014 9:00PM

BP confirmed this morning that it's Whiting, Indiana refinery had leaked an unknown amount of crude oil into Lake Michigan. BP spokesman Scott Dean said that workers noticed what he described as a "sheen" on the water at about 4:30 a.m. this morning. "The discharge has stopped," Dean told NBC Chicago, "and BP and its response team have deployed boom, containing the oil to a cove." No injuries were reported as a result of the leak. BP has notified state and local officials of the leak, as well the U.S. EPA and Coast Guard, and has dispatched crews on the beach to begin cleaning up.

Favorable weather conditions have made containing the spill and cleanup easier; wind has been pushing the oil toward the shore, and lower temperatures coupled with the fact that 60 percent of the lake is still frozen over has made the oil a hard, waxy consistency.

Nonetheless BP has been criticized by environmental groups and some local residents for the recent increased processing of Canadian tar sands. And while the Whiting refinery has had no major disasters, BP itself has been cited for violating federal clean air standards. And an evaluation of OSHA data by 60 Minutes has found that BP has more safety violations than all of it's competitors.

While the extent of the spill may not be known for some time, the environmental impact of BP's growth in Whiting and the industrial landscape of Northwest Indiana and Chicago's Southeast Side will linger for years to come.