UPDATE 3-Oil spills into Lake Michigan from BP refinery

Tue Mar 25, 2014 12:48pm EDT
 
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(Adds details on impact to BP)

By Erwin Seba and Edward McAllister

March 25 (Reuters) - An unknown amount of oil leaked from BP Plc's Whiting refinery in Indiana into Lake Michigan after a mechanical glitch on Monday afternoon, the company confirmed on Tuesday.

The discharge had stopped, the leak was contained, and no injuries were reported, the London-based company said in a statement on Tuesday.

As crews worked on the cleanup, the effect on Lake Michigan was not immediately clear. About 60 percent of the lake is covered in ice, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

BP laid down boom on the water to keep the leak from spreading and said the oil was confined to a cove between the refinery's wastewater treatment plant and a steel mill.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Coast Guard and state regulators were at the scene.

Oil spills are not uncommon in the United States, where drilling is at an all-time high and energy production is on the rise. Still, Monday's spill will probably spur more environmental opposition to the Whiting refinery, which has been under local scrutiny for releasing pollutants into Lake Michigan.

The spill may also be another blow to BP, whose reputation was tarnished by the Macondo well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in April 2010. That was the worst offshore spill in U.S. history, spewing millions of barrels of oil into the ocean.   Continued...