Coast Guard: BP let 9 to 18 barrels of oil in lak

A worker collects particles of oil which is more like a gel due to the cold temperatures in Whiting, IN on March 25, 2014. | Jim KarczewskiFor NWI Catholic
A worker collects particles of oil which is more like a gel due to the cold temperatures in Whiting, IN on March 25, 2014. | Jim KarczewskiFor NWI Catholic

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says an initial assessment shows nine to 18 barrels of crude oil were released into Lake Michigan this week during a malfunction at BP’s oil refinery in northwestern Indiana.

Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf said Wednesday that the estimate comes from the Coast Guard’s initial visual assessment of the spill scene at BP’s Whiting refinery some 20 miles (30 kilometers) southeast of downtown Chicago.

One barrel of oil contains about 42 gallons, meaning the initial assessment indicates between about 378 and 756 gallons of crude oil was released into the lake.

Haraf says a more accurate spill estimate will be released later this week. He says a Coast Guard response team has found “minimal oiling” along the shoreline.

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