The Tonka Report

Real News In A Changing World

Oil Spill Passes Morrow Lake And Now “Halfway To Lake Michigan”

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July 29, 2010: Eric D. Lawrence and Christina Hall / Free Press – July 29, 2010

The president of the Canadian company responsible for the spillage of possibly 1 million gallons [emphasis mine] of oil into the Kalamazoo River apologized today “for the mess we have made.”

Enbridge President Patrick Daniel said the company takes “full responsibility for the cleanup,” during an afternoon press conference in Battle Creek on the spill and cleanup process.

He and EPA officials said no oil has entered Morrow Lake. An EPA official said there is no danger to Kalamazoo. That contradicts earlier reports from Gov. Granholm, a Comstock Township official and at least one lakeside homeowner that oil had in fact reached Lake Morrow. Robert Hainer Jr., who owns property on the lake, told the Free Press on Wednesday he could smell a strong odor of oil and saw an oil sheen on the lake Wednesday afternoon.

But Daniel and Susan Hedman, regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, said there is no sheen on Morrow Lake. Ralph Dollhopf, EPA on-scene coordinator, said that barriers have been set up to keep oil away, with a containment on the upstream end of the lake and contingency containment on the downstream end of the lake. The dam is on the downstream end of the lake. Daniel said Enbridge is willing to spend “whatever it takes” to clean up the spill and to the satisfaction of the people in the area and regulators.

Enbridge officials said 17 booms have been set up and 16 more may be put in place to collect an estimated 819,000 gallons of spilled crude. Daniel said the company was not aware of the leak on Sunday night despite 911 calls about a gas odor in the area. He said the company became aware of it Monday.

About 30-50 homes have been recommended for evacuation near the leak near Marshall. County and state officials continue to monitor about seven other nearby areas. There is a drinking water advisory for about 100 homes within 200 feet of the river in Calhoun County and bottled water is available for residents.

Officials said while the some of the oil has been removed, more response is needed. Air and water will continue to be monitored for volatile chemicals such as benzene and boats will continue to do surveys of the water. Officials said it will be a couple of months before all the oil will be cleaned up.

Earlier, authorities said oil from this week’s Michigan pipeline spill has breached the dam at Morrow Lake in Comstock Township and is at least halfway to Lake Michigan [emphasis mine]. Crews continued today to try to stop the oil from spreading, but they had hoped to make a last stand at Morrow Lake.

Meanwhile, the Battle Creek Enquirer reported on its Web site that health officials are suggesting evacuations for 20 to 25 homes near the original oil spill site. Comstock Township Supervisor said the discovery of the dam breach was made Wednesday during a helicopter fly-over of the area. A news conference was held at 3 p.m. today in Battle Creek, to release more details about the spill and cleanup and response. At the conference, the Environmental Protection Agency said it would continue to bring in resources.

Lisa Williams, a contaminant specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said 17 geese, two swans, one turtle, one belted kingfisher and one muskrat have been recovered and are being cleaned. Williams said very few dead animals had been recovered. She directed anyone interested in volunteering or has experienced issues connected with the spill to call a special hotline at 800-306-6837. Wildlife officials have cautioned people not to approach oil coated animals, but rather to let professionals handle them. The Battle Creek Enquirer also reported that the odor from the spill caused Kellogg Co. to stop production in Battle Creek.

NTSB Hopes To Get A Look At Pipeline Today

Meanwhile, the section of pipeline that may have leaked as much as 1 million gallons of oil into a Kalamazoo River tributary has yet to be excavated, although work is apparently under way.

Investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board hope to get a look at the pipeline today, according to Peter Knudson, an NTSB spokesman. The agency is investigating what caused the spill reported Monday afternoon. “The biggest challenge right now is we can’t get to the pipe,” he said.

In addition to its five investigators in Michigan, the NTSB has also dispatched an investigator to Canada to review maintenance records and other materials at the offices of Enbridge, the responsible oil company. Oily water has flowed downstream from the spill site near Marshall at least as far as Comstock Township near Kalamazoo.

The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Ecologically speaking in terms of geographics, the damage from this latest oil catastrophe will play out to be every bit as devastating as the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster– SJH 

Link to original article below…

One Response

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  1. What really worries me is that they might get the idea that Corexit is the best way to clean it. Could you imagine the health devestation? Thankfully the MSDS states that it is for use on the open sea….

    Kirk J

    July 30, 2010 at 7:16 am

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