Penalties under review over Indiana refinery spill

A Coast Guard hearing officer will decide whether BP will face any fines, penalties or corrective actions for an oil spill into Lake Michigan last month from the company's northwestern Indiana refinery.
AP Wire
Apr 27, 2014

The Coast Guard has completed its investigation into the spill March 24 in Whiting and forwarded its findings to the hearing officer in Washington, D.C., Lt. Brian Dykens said.

Crews spent several days cleaning up oil along the Lake Michigan shoreline after the company reported that a malfunction at the refinery caused up to 1,600 gallons of oil being discharged into the lake.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said its investigation into the spill is focusing on a now-removed connection between a crude distillation unit and the cooling water system. Representatives from the Coast Guard, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and BP determined the cleanup was complete April 4 after they saw no more sheen and found no more oil.

The Coast Guard and EPA plan to do a follow-up inspection this summer of the lake, which is a source of drinking water for millions of people.

"Time allows nature to move around, and maybe wash oil ashore on the rocks or come up from the bottom," Dykes said. "We will cover that whole area to see if we missed anything."

The Coast Guard also will determine whether BP violated the Clean Water Act.



There's a sign in the bilge of my boat that says if I discharge any oil into the water I will be fined. I guess BP's refinery is not a boat but they did discharge oil into the lake, I believe a fine would be in order?

Robinson Reader

Yep, and I'll bet the combined oil that goes into Lake Michigan from all the speedboats, pontoons and wave runners in one week far exceeds this spill.


For the past 40+ years we've been putting up with crap from Grand Rapids every time it rains, by way of raw sewage polluting our harbor, beaches, and surrounding lakes/bayous and not one F%$#@ dollar fine to a local government municipality.

However, one very small spill from an oil company that responded with lighting speed to contain their inadvertent mistake to correct the situation and we should face plant them to the ground with fines and ridicule?


Actually, Grand Rapids has made huge progress and has spent hundreds of millions of dollars and been fined large fees to fix this issue. The project is almost complete.

I included some links for you below so you don't have to expend any effort.

Yes, they should be fined! This is not the whole story though as the "legal" stuff they dump everyday is also going right into the water millions drink everyday! One of the reasons you are not supposed to eat the fish you catch! Too much mercury!

Tri-cities realist

In the links you provided,I couldn't find any mention of the fines GR has paid. Hmmm


After 40+ years of putting up with G.R.'s crap, they finally spend hundreds of "millions" of dollars and they're STILL not done? BP spent 40 ""BILLION" to clean up the Gulf spill in less than 3 years!!!!!! Do you even hear what you're saying? What the hell?

By way of correction GH55, not $1 dollar in fines has EVER been levied against the City of G.R. or the City of Wyoming for these illegal sewage dumps into the Grand River, only "warnings" of potential fines if, not corrected. Get it straight.

Should we now fine the enviromentalist for making us spill mercury in all of our land fills due to the idiotic curly light bulbs?


Speaking of getting it straight, perhaps you may want to back off your statement concerning 40+ years of putting up with "crap" from Grand Rapids everytime it rains. Since 1988 that has been vastly improved. And at this point in time it is almost non-existent.
I was not aware they did not pay any fines. Sorry!
The environmentalists are not "making anyone spill mercury in all of our landfills"! The "curly light bulbs are supposed to be disposed of properly. Ottawa County maintains several sites for drop off as do many commercial retailers!
BP lied and denied until they were buried under mountains of evidence. The company plead guilty to 11 counts of felony manslaughter, two misdemeanors, and one felony count of lying to Congress, and agreed to pay more than $4.5 billion in fines and penalties, the largest criminal resolution in US history. They still face further litigation under the Clean Water Act which they may be fined up to $17.6 Billion. Yet still managed to make over $23 Billion in profit in 2013.
BP in no way, shape or form compares to the CSO situation in Grand Rapids. The activities in Grand Rapids were to rectify the established way sewer systems were built in this country prior to 1966. The activities BP conducted in the Gulf of Mexico did not rectify anything, it merely covered up the main part of the mess. Dispersant not retrieval!
What they did was criminal and they have been convicted of that. What Grand Rapids did and what they are doing is to change an entire city's sewer system so it meets new requirements.
No, I don't trust a thing when it comes to BP, and have been proven rightly so! I am very concerned about what they spill into Lake Michigan, mainly because I tend to like clean drinking water.

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