It’s not like Illinois senators have never poked their noses into Indiana issues before. Former Illinois Sen. Paul Douglas led the battle to save the Indiana Dunes.
Now senators Mark Kirk, a Republican, and Dick Durbin, a Democrat, are demanding answers on a different duneland issue, the spilling of crude oil this month into Lake Michigan from a refinery at Whiting, Ind. Residents of both states should stand with them.
On Thursday, BP, owner of the Northwest Indiana refinery, raised its estimate of how much oil had spilled to up to 1,638 gallons, and we still don’t know how much, if any, is under the surface. BP had first reported the spill, which is about 20 miles southeast of downtown Chicago, on Monday.
Environmentalists are concerned about the spill partly because the refinery recently expanded to double the amount of heavy oil from tar sands that it refines. Josh Mogerman, spokesman for the National Resources Defense Council, said the biggest worry is that the spill could be “a harbinger of things to be come.”
Kirk and Durbin sent a letter asking for a meeting with BP officials and said they are concerned about contamination of drinking water. They said they plan to hold BP accountable for future leaks.
We would have expected Indiana officials to be on the case before this, but they’ve been strangely quiet. Illinois’ senators are to be congratulated for making sure someone is paying attention.