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Protesters Picket BP's Chicago Offices In Wake Of Lake Michigan Oil Spill

By aaroncynic in News on Mar 30, 2014 5:45PM

Demonstrators gathered on Friday to call out BP as the oil giant raised estimates of just how much oil it may have spilled into Lake Michigan after a malfunction at its refinery in Whiting.

Somewhere between 630 to 1,638 gallons of crude poured into the Lake on Monday. More than 100 rallied outside BP’s offices during the Friday rush hour and attempted to deliver an open letter demanding accountability.

“We’re calling on British Petroleum, who just got off the no drill list this past month, to give answers, to be investigated by an outside source,” Dorothy Begosa, of the group Global Climate Convergence, said. “This is a horrible thing. It might look perfectly clear on top but if indeed it was tar sands that was spilled it’s underneath and it’s poisoning lake Michigan as we speak.”

While BP says it kept the majority of the oil confined and the spill wouldn’t pose a danger to drinking water, environmentalists, lawmakers and Chicago residents are demanding more information.

ThinkProgress reportsSenators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin have called for a full report on the cause of the sill and an investigation into an expansion at the refiner which allows it to process more Canadian tar sands oil.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel also demanded answers last week, saying “I expect a full accounting to the public and the city of Chicago of the damage that was done.”

Some protesters, though, said accountability isn’t enough, demanding a halt to the production of tar sands.

“We love Chicago,”Al Smith ,of the group Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands, said. “We come here all the time, we live along the lakefront in Indiana.”

Smith’s wife Vicci Hamlin was among three people who were convicted of felony charges for tying themselves to excavators in at a construction site after a construction company building a pipleline along the Kalamazoo river dumped more than 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil into one of its tributaries.

“We don’t want just accountability, we want the production of tar sands stopped. Everyday there’s another spill and it’s getting worse because of tar sands.”