Updated: An Oil Spill Of Our Own

The oil spill in the Kalamazoo River looks worse than originally thought. It now covers more than 25 miles of the Kalamazoo River, according to the latest information from the Environmental Protection Agency.

On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm declared a state of disaster in Calhoun County and potentially affected areas along the Kalamazoo River downstream of Talmadge Creek in response to Monday’s oil spill from a pipeline near Marshall, Michigan.

“This disaster declaration reinforces our efforts to ensure the safety of Michigan citizens and the environment by making any needed state resources readily available,” said Granholm.

The leak in an oil pipeline left birds and fish covered in oil, but officials insist the spill, which has dumped more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the river, shouldn’t reach Lake Michigan. They originally believed a dam at Morrow Lake, upstream of Kalamazoo, will hold the oil back.

But late Wednesday, it appeared oil was spilling over the damn. Here is Michigan Radio’s report.

WBEZ in Chicago also is on the story, and reports that more than one million gallons may have spilled. The story continues to captureĀ attention fromĀ The New York Times and other national media.

Granholm, who toured the site on Wednesday, said she’s displeased with the pace of the clean up. The governor has created a Web page for oil spill updates: www.michigan.gov/oilspill

After weeks of headlines about the oil spill in the Gulf, regional residents can’t help but wonder what the extent of this spill might be. The Great Lakes are a key focus of the Changing Gears project and we’ll be staying on top of this story. Are you concerned about the Kalamazoo oil spill? What do you think should be done?

3 Replies to “Updated: An Oil Spill Of Our Own”

  1. Thanks Micki.

    I did a news roundup of what I could find this morning


    The open question I have is what is the affect on drinking water; there's a Federal database of sensitive areas


    but it's restricted for security reasons (!)

    The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) has discontinued providing open access to the National Pipeline Mapping System. Recent events have focused additional security concerns on critical infrastructure systems. Due to these concerns, PHMSA no longer provides unlimited access to the Internet mapping application, pipeline data, and drinking water Unusually Sensitive Area data. PHMSA is committed to providing pipeline related data to pipeline operators complying with integrity management programs and to community officials.

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