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Ruling on BP spill expected soon

A worker dumps contaminated soil inbag Whiting IN March 25 2014. | Jim Karczewski/for Sun-Times Media

A worker dumps contaminated soil into a bag in Whiting, IN on March 25, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/for Sun-Times Media

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Updated: June 12, 2014 12:48PM



BP expects to find out whether it faces fines or corrective action for the March 24 oil spill at the Whiting refinery within the next few weeks.

Lt. Brian Dykens, a spokesman for the U.S. Coast Guard’s Lake Michigan sector, said recommendations were sent to the Coast Guard hearing office on Tuesday, and the announcement should occur about 30 days later.

The March 24 spill dumped as many as 39 barrels — almost 1,368 gallons — of oil into the lake. BP officials said an oil processing error caused a slug of crude to be injected into the No. 6 separator at the water treatment plant and the mixture came into the lake via an outflow pipe. A BP team handled the cleanup, which was overseen by the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Indiana Department of Environmental Management.

Dykens said corrective actions tend to deal with violations of the Clean Water Act and how the company handled the cleanup process. BP used oil absorbent booms, vacuum trucks and workers to collect oil in the water and on the beach.

On Friday, U.S. Sens. Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin of Illinois met with BP America Chairman and President John Minge to discuss concerns, specifically what BP has done to ensure its new equipment does not lead to any further spills, and what steps it took to ensure drinking water has not been contaminated. Lake Michigan provides drinking water to more than 7 million people.

“From drinking water to transportation and recreation, Lake Michigan is crucial to our way of life,” Kirk said in a statement.

“There is no room for error with our natural resources and BP needs to prove it is capable of protecting our lake from further pollution and contamination.”



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