Dammit, It’s Happening Here

Oil spill in the Kalamazoo River | Photo from the National Wildlife Federation

We just heard that at least 877,000 gallons of oil has leaked from an oil pipeline into the Kalamazoo River in Marshall, Michigan.  

The oil has moved 16 miles downstream and has already killed fish; the fumes have forced some people to evacuate; wildlife is getting coated with oil; shorelines are getting fouled; and containment efforts have been hampered by the high flows in the river because of all the rain. A federal-state response team has swung into action. 

Meanwhile, the company owning the pipeline, Enbridge, Inc., couldn’t initially be reached for comment, other than to a message saying that it hoped it had not caused any “inconvenience” to the community. Since then the company has issued an apology. 

We just released the statement below. We’ll provide updates as we learn more.  

Pipeline Spews 845,000 Gallons of Oil into Michigan Waters, Threatening Great Lakes 

National Wildlife Federation: ‘Michigan has become another casualty to our country’s addiction to oil and dirty fuels.’ 

ANN ARBOR, MICH. (July 27, 2010)—A major oil spill has dumped a reported 845,000 gallons of oil into a creek that feeds into the Kalamazoo River, sparking a state of emergency in Kalamazoo County and sparking fears will not be able to contain the massive spill before it reaches Lake Michigan. 

Commenting on the oil spill, Danielle Korpalski, Midwest regional outreach coordinator for the National Wildlife Federation, said: 

“We never thought it would happen here. When people throughout Michigan responded to the Gulf oil spill with an outpouring of money, concern, and support for those who live on the Gulf, we never thought we would share that awful feeling of watching a massive oil slick flowing through our waters, coating our wildlife, killing fish, and fouling our coastline. We never thought we’d see evacuations in Michigan because of the fumes from an oil spill. And we never thought we’d see almost a million gallons of oil poised to flow into the Great Lakes. 

“But today, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. 

“Michigan has become another casualty to our country’s addiction to oil and dirty fuels. 

“This massive oil spill is a wake-up call that our nation’s energy policies are failing. 

“From the Gulf Coast to the Midwest, people are paying a steep price for a national energy policy that is addicted to dirty and dangerous fossil fuels—and the results can be seen in our backyards, in our communities and in our nation’s cherished waters and wild places. 

“This oil spill is only the latest evidence that the nation needs to move toward cleaner, safer sources of energy. It’s time to head in a new direction—one which holds the opportunity to make the energy technologies of the future while creating jobs, strengthening our national security, and improving our environment.”

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2 Responses to “Dammit, It’s Happening Here”

  1. Cindi Says:

    This happened several years ago as well (near Jackson area?). People in Salt Lake City had a spill during the time of the BP spill. The UP is under fire right now too with Kennecott preparing to carry on sulfide mining. There is a lot of policy (or non-policy) that isn’t working. Hopefully, we will be spurred to action!

  2. The Destructionist Says:

    On Monday night (July 26) an oil pipeline – owned by Enbridge Energy Inc. – burst and spilled over 1,000,000+ gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek, Michigan. Michiganders are scrambling to stop the flow from getting into Lake Michigan, but I fear their efforts are in vain.

    According to the latest local news reports, it seems that Enbridge was slow to react to the emergency, while under reporting the actual amount of oil that was leaked into the river. Since Monday, the situation has grown even worse. Birds and other animal wildlife, coated with oil, have been found. People living along the river have been warned to evacuate the area along the river way and not to drink their well water for fear of contamination.

    1,000,000+ gallons of oil may not sound like much to some, considering the amount of oil now floating just underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, but in such a confined area – like the Kalamazoo River – that amount is devastating. As the oil continues to flow west, it will soon reach Lake Michigan, affecting the drinking water of millions of people, killing all wildlife, and despoiling the true beauty of the great lake.

    I’m really starting to believe that corporations don’t give a damn about anything other than their profits. As I stated in one of my previous blog posts (Who Put Corporations in Charge?), “…what good is money, after all, if you don’t have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat without fear of contamination?”

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