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Three million litres of oil spill from pipeline into Michigan river

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#1 Spiel


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Posted 28 July 2010 - 01:51 PM

Three million litres of oil spill from pipeline into Michigan river

July 28, 2010 / www.thespec.com

BATTLE CREEK, MICH.—Southern Michigan residents are learning that devastating oil spills aren't limited to the Gulf Coast.

Crews were working Wednesday to contain and clean up an estimated 877,000 gallons (3,319,708 litres) of oil that coated birds and fish as it poured into a creek and flowed into the Kalamazoo River, one of the state's major waterways.

Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm toured the area by helicopter Tuesday night and said she wasn't satisfied with the response to the spill. The leak in the 30-inch (76-centimetre) pipeline, which was built in 1969 and carries about 8 million gallons (30 million litres) of oil daily from Griffith, Indiana, to Sarnia, Ontario, was detected early Monday.

"There needs to be a lot more done," Granholm said. "There are not enough resources on the river right now."

Granholm declared a state of disaster in Calhoun County and potentially affected areas along the river, which eventually bisects the city of Kalamazoo and meanders to Saugatuck, where it empties into Lake Michigan. Officials don't believe oil will spread past a dam upstream of Kalamazoo. The cause of the spill is under investigation.

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge Inc.'s affiliate Enbridge Energy Partners LP of Houston initially estimated that about 819,000 gallons (3,100,161 litres) of oil spilled into Talmadge Creek before the company stopped the flow.

But state officials were told during a company briefing Tuesday that an estimated 877,000 gallons (3,319,708 litres) spilled, said Mary Dettloff, spokeswoman for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment.

As of late Tuesday, oil was reported in at least 26 kilometres of the Kalamazoo River downstream of the spill. Company officials said the spill appeared to be contained and oil wouldn't likely drift much more downstream.

Enbridge crews and contractors are using oil skimmers and absorbent booms to minimize its environmental impact.

"This is our responsibility," Enbridge's president and chief executive Patrick D. Daniel said Tuesday evening in Battle Creek. "This is our mess. We're going to clean it up."

Many area residents were surprised to learn that a pipeline was so close to the Great Lakes river.

"I just can't believe they allowed that to happen, and they're not equipped to handle it," said Owen Smith, 53, of Galesburg. Smith lives near the river and stopped at several points far upstream on Tuesday to see what might be headed his way.

The air was pungent with the smell of oil, but health officials said they so far were satisfied with the results from air quality tests. Groundwater testing was expected to begin soon.

Still, health officials warned residents to stay away from the river, saying it should be closed to fishing and other recreational activities, and irrigation. No injuries or illnesses have been reported, but a few households near the spill had been evacuated.

Enbridge said it had about 200 employees and contractors working on the spill, and a centre was being set up to help ducks, geese and other wildlife coated with oil.

Local, state and federal agencies also were involved, and the National Transportation Safety Board launched an investigation.

U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, a Michigan Democrat, said he discussed the spill with President Barack Obama. Schauer called the spill a "public health crisis," and said he plans to hold hearings to examine the response.

Obama has pledged a swift response to requests for assistance, White House spokesman Matt Lehrich said.

The river already faced major pollution issues. An 80-mile (130-kilometre) segment of the river and five miles of a tributary, Portage Creek, were placed on the federal Superfund list of high-priority hazardous waste sites in 1990. The Kalamazoo site also includes four landfills and several defunct paper mills.

#2 dangler



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Posted 04 August 2010 - 02:22 PM

This is more bad news. The more I pay attention to oil spills the more I hear about. There was an explosion at an oil rig off coast of Japan I believe and it caused lots of oil to spill as well... some of the biggest oil spills occur in areas of the world where the cleanup is very minimal.

What I really came on here to say is that I think that as anglers we have valueable knowledge of fish as well as the landscapes and nature surrounding fish. We should utilize this intimate knowledge and experience and offer feedback and suggestions to the MNR. I think an important place to start is with education. The biggest problem I see with this is that it is very easy to acquire a fishing license and you don't need to know anything to use it. This seems irresponsible and puts many species at risk of being caught or injured at vulnerable times. I think there should be a mandatory test including things like species identification, general habits and ways to avoid catching fish out of season or spawning. This would be great for the future of our fisheries.

What are other people's opinions on this?


#3 Tommy


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Posted 06 August 2010 - 10:12 AM

I am in total agreement dangler, all one needs to do is go down to the local bait shop, drop a few bucks and is able to fish to his content. Fishing licenses should be similiar to boater licenses, How is the new fisherman supposed to be able to tell the difference between pike and muskie or know what a slot size is, studying of course! Some people may even take fish out of season without even knowing it!


#4 bly



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Posted 08 August 2010 - 08:19 AM

I remember living in the areas mentioned and although the waters weren't great then, breaks my heart to read that they are now going to be even farther behind. Understand it would cost more $$ than anyone is willing to spend but wouldn't it be nice if all plants, factories, pipelines and so on had to be X number of miles from any water.

#5 pikeslayer


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Posted 09 August 2010 - 03:04 PM

not good news.

#6 Loadman



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Posted 31 October 2011 - 11:39 AM

not good at all...

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