Ex-BP engineer seeks sentencing delay

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A former BP engineer has asked for a delay in his sentencing on an obstruction of justice charge related to the 2010 Gulf oil spill.

Kurt Mix was convicted in December for deleting text messages in what prosecutors said was an attempt to hamper the government's criminal investigation of the spill resulting from the deadly Deepwater Horizon rig explosion. He is scheduled for a sentencing hearing April 23.


Coast Guard: BP let 9 to 18 barrels of oil into Lake Michigan

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An initial assessment of a Lake Michigan oil spill shows between nine and 18 barrels of crude oil entered the lake following a malfunction at BP's sprawling northwestern Indiana refinery, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman said Wednesday.

Coast Guard spokesman Chief Petty Officer Alan Haraf said the estimate came from BP's initial visual assessment Tuesday of the spill scene at the company's Whiting refinery some 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago.


EPA: Oil spill affected half-mile of Lake Michigan

WHITING, Ind. (AP) — Crews for oil giant BP worked Tuesday to clean up an undetermined amount of crude oil that spilled into Lake Michigan and affected about a half-mile section of shoreline near Chicago following a malfunction at BP's northwestern Indiana refinery, officials said.

The spill reported Monday afternoon by BP appears to have been contained by company crew members who deployed absorbent booms around the spill site, said Mike Beslow, on-scene coordinator for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Region 5.

BP spokesman Scott Dean said the area affected by the spill was a cove along the Lake Michigan at the company's sprawling Whiting refinery, which covers about 1,400 acres.


Fishermen sue over ship channel collision


Commercial and sport fishermen have filed a class action suit against the companies -- Kirby Inland Marine LP and Cleopatra Shipping Agency Ltd. --  involved in Saturday's collision that shut the Houston Ship Channel and spilled about 168,000 gallons of oil into Galveston Bay, Bloomberg reports.


Houston Ship Channel reopened to limited traffic

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — The Coast Guard partially reopened one of the nation's busiest seaports to ship traffic Tuesday, three days after a collision between a barge and a ship spilled up to 170,000 gallons of tar-like oil into the waters south of Houston.

Authorities said ships were being allowed through the Houston Ship Channel after their assessment teams deemed it was clear enough for passage. About 100 ships were waiting Tuesday morning to move through the channel, which connects Southeast Texas to the Gulf of Mexico and is a key route for tourism and traffic to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The Coast Guard began to allow more traffic after a test run of two ships — a Carnival cruise and a boat belonging to the Houston Pilots association. Officials expect it to take about three days for channel traffic to get back to normal.


Officials report progress in Ohio oil leak cleanup

CINCINNATI (AP) — Cleanup crews expect to spend about another week vacuuming oil from the ground and water where thousands of gallons of crude leaked from a pipeline into a southwest Ohio nature preserve, officials said Tuesday.

Workers have also been excavating soil near the break since the leak was noticed last week in the Oak Glen Nature Preserve west of Cincinnati. Federal officials estimate more than 20,000 gallons — about 500 barrels — spilled into an intermittent stream and an acre-sized marshy area that forms a pond in wet weather.


BP assesses refinery oil spill in Lake Michigan

WHITING, Indiana (AP) — BP says it is assessing how much crude oil entered Lake Michigan following a malfunction at its northwestern Indiana refinery.

BP spokesman Scott Dean says crews have placed booms across a cove at the company's Whiting refinery where workers discovered the oil spill Monday afternoon.

Dean says BP believes the oil released during an oil refining malfunction has been confined to that cove.


Crews clean up spill in Texas shipping channel, hope again for reopening

GALVESTON, Texas (AP) — Cannon booms reverberate across the Houston Ship Channel, a scare-tactic to keep birds away from oil-slicked beaches. On a mainland shore near a line of refineries, crews scour the sand for quarter-sized tar balls that have washed ashore.

Far on the horizon a few ships floated outside the channel, among the dozens of vessels waiting for the U.S. Coast Guard to reopen one of the nation's busiest seaports after a barge collision dumped as many as 170,000 gallons of heavy oil into the water.

Three days after the collision, the cleanup effort is still going on in earnest. But authorities hope the channel's closure could end sometime Tuesday, allowing more than 80 stranded ships to resume activity.


NY asks feds to update oil spill response plans

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — New York officials asked the Environmental Protection Agency on Monday to update a contingency plan for dealing with oil spills amid the rapid expansion of rail shipments of crude oil from North Dakota across New York to coastal refineries.

State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens sent a letter Monday to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. He said under the Oil Pollution Act of 1990, the EPA is responsible for creating Inland Area Contingency Plans to improve preparedness for oil spills.


Alaska Senate panel discusses Exxon Valdez funding measure

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — On the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Senate Judiciary Committee took up a resolution Monday calling on the state and federal governments to seek additional money for restoration stemming from the disaster.

Sen. Berta Gardner, D-Anchorage, said one of her goals in bringing SJR25 — particularly in light of the potential for drilling in the Arctic or the development of a massive copper-and-gold prospect near the headwaters of Bristol Bay — was to "assure the world" that Alaska has high standards for how it will respond to industrial accidents. She said she also wanted to ensure the governments did not miss any windows for collecting what has been claimed.


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