Lake Michigan at sunset.
Lake Michigan is at risk of being contaminated by an oil spill. CC by Tim/Picasa courtesy of Sunsets

The Kalamazoo River oil spill has spurred a declaration of a state of emergency in Michigan. An oil pipeline leaked and pumped almost 20,000 barrels of oil into the river, starting on Monday morning. The EPA and Enbridge Energy are working together to try to control the oil slick.

The oil spill of the Kalamazoo River

The cause of the oil pipeline leak is not yet known. The pipeline operator is estimating that there were 800,000 or more gallons of oil dumped into the river. Lake Michigan is in danger, as it is only 60 miles away from the Kalamazoo River spill. Residents in the area are reporting sickening fumes and wildlife coated with oil.

Enbridge Energy promises restitution

Spokespeople for Houston’s Enbridge Energy have said that the company will “do all it can to minimize the spill’s impact.” The 30-inch pipeline was being used to send crude oil from Indiana to Ontario. Many people, including the state governor, have questioned the dedication to the cleanup. Enbridge has estimated the spill was 819,000 gallons of oil – experts say it could be more than 1 million gallons. The cleanup will probably cost in the range of several hundred million dollars.

EPA asked help clean up the spill

The EPA has been asked to come help clean up the Kalamazoo River oil spill. There are serious concerns about the Kalamazoo River Superfund cleanup site. PCBs found in the cleanup site could interact with the gasoline fumes. This could create fumes that are toxic to animals and people. The EPA is sure to have some kind of involvement, either financial or regulatory, in the cleanup.


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