Michigan Oil Spill Among Largest In Midwest History

Michigan Oil Spill Among Largest In Midwest History

July 27, 2010

It is being called one of the worst Midwest oil spills in recent history, and now local, state and federal agencies are responding to the leak of up to one-million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

A pipeline that carries about eight million gallons of oil a day from Indiana to Canada started leaking Monday morning.

“The oil traveled down Tallmadge Creek, which is a tributary to the Kalamazoo River,” says Lorraine Grymala, spokeswoman for Enbridge Pipelines.

The Environmental Protection Agency believes that up to one-million gallons of oil may have been released.

“The line was shut down immediately,” says Grymala. “We have isolation valves that are located on either side of where leak occurred. So, both of those have been closed.”

Booms and skimmers have been placed up and down the Kalamazoo River. They are supposed to stop and capture the oil. The neighbors fear it’s not good enough.

Don Toppen says, “The boom isn’t doing anything. Oil’s going right underneath it and it keeps going downstream.”

“This goes to Kalamazoo to Morrow Pond, and from there to Saugatuck and then Lake Michigan,” says Steve Squires, who lives near the river. “It’s headed that way.”

Enbridge says it is their responsibility to clean up the mess, but right now it’s focusing on controlling the oil, and preventing it from spreading further down the river.

Several volunteers showed up Tuesday at Squaw Creek, to tend to several birds coated in oil.

Diane Green says, “There’s no oil right here. The geese came up from the Kalamazoo River, trying to find a safe place to be. Cause the river is full of oil.”

The volunteers were told not to touch the animals.

Meantime, Enbridge says it’s working with state and federal agencies to deal with affected wildlife.

“As of earlier today, we have a focus wildlife group that has come-in and they are going to be in charge of animals that have been affected by the spill,” says Grymala.

Governor Jennifer Granholm is going to tour the area tonight. WZZM 13 News will have more on that, tonight at 11 p.m.