Durbin, Kirk Statement on BP Whiting Refinery Oil Spill into Lake Michigan

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) today released the following statement after learning that an unknown amount of oil from BP’s Whiting refinery in Indiana spilled into Lake Michigan. Earlier today, Durbin spoke with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy and EPA Region 5 Administrator Susan Hedman about the spill.


“We cannot be too careful when it comes to protecting the health and safety of Lake Michigan which serves as the primary source of drinking water for millions of people in and around Chicago.  Protecting our Great Lakes and the economic and environmental impact they have on our state should be a top priority.


“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.


“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. 


“We plan to hold BP accountable for this spill and will ask for a thorough report about the cause of this spill; what the impact of the Whiting Refinery’s production increase on Lake Michigan and steps are being taken to prevent any future spill.”