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UPDATE: Michigan Oil Spill Prompts Local Evacuations

UPDATE: Michigan Oil Spill Prompts Local Evacuations

In a story that’s becoming all too familiar, officials are now reporting that initial estimates of the amount of crude oil spilling into a Lake Michigan tributary were too low.

The Environmental Protection Agency now says it believes more than one million gallons of oil may have leaked into Talmadge Creek, which runs into the Kalamazoo River and leads to Lake Michigan.

The estimate reported Wednesday night from the EPA exceeds earlier estimates of about 819,000 gallons from Enbridge, the company responsible for the spill. According to local investigations, just like BP, the company has struggled with explosions and regulatory violations for the past decade.

“We’ve made significant progress,” said Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel, “but we have a long way to go.” He said efforts to determine the source and cause of the spill have begun, but it may be weeks before a final determination is made.

Air Quality In Danger

Already Calhoun County Health Department officials are already recommending the immediate evacuation of the residents who live on, in, and around the Kalamazoo River oil spill due to higher than acceptable levels of benzene in the air.

Although it was much larger, and went on for much longer, an evacuation of residents at risk was never recommended in the area of the Gulf oil spill.

Benzene is colorless chemical that has a sweet odor, and is commonly found in crude oil. People who breathe it in may develop drowsiness, dizziness, irregular heartbeat, headaches, tremors, confusion or unconsciousness. Benzene exposure can also have extremely harmful long-term effects.

Something In The Water

County officials are also concerned that the oil spill could endanger local water supplies. According to a local Fox news story, residents are advised to stop using water for cooking and drinking. At this time, water tests have not shown any contamination of ground water, but bottled water has been made available to affected residents.

Again, despite the more serious nature of the Gulf oil spill, the EPA has continually claimed that municipal water and private wells in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other affected areas are perfectly safe.

Enbridge President Patrick Daniel said in a press conference that his company is willing to spend “whatever it takes” to clean up the spill and to the satisfaction of the people in the area and regulators.

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Image Credit: myFoxDetroit.com

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69 comments

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1:56PM PDT on Aug 9, 2010

Oil dependency is finally killing us.

10:05PM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

OK, there has to be some profitable reason that this is happening for SOME One(s). ?
Or the very least oops we have to raise the price of gas to 10.00 a gallon to cover our losses. I say it again, Google wife ought be putting money up to get us into renewable fuel options and out of the crude oil dependance. Bring in the diesels convert to veggie, go solar hell put a wind turbine on that SUV. Get a horse or a mule. With the way auto makers rip us off it would be more reliable and cost efficient to have a horse or mule.

9:18AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

NO MORE OIL!!!

6:16AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

I thought it weird to hear this breaking story when it happened via NPR...and then waited to hear more about it on national news and radio, etc...and nothing...this is the first I have seen mentioned of this since then...

I think that any and all people should be kept out of harm's way. It is a moral and ethical act to do this. But then again... we are not dealing with moral and ethical organizations...so it is a hit or miss situation...unfortunate for the victims. (Which will trickle down to all eventually)...

2:12AM PDT on Aug 3, 2010

"County officials are also concerned that the oil spill could endanger local water supplies." Go figure. The Officially stupid have spoken.

What more is there to say. This is not an unusual occurence these 'accidents' are happening more and more, all around the world but don't worry the 'Officials' are safe, as are the drill rig builders, drill rig owners, Pipe line operators, Tanker operators, Drilling platform designers, Platform builders all safe, just the local inhabitants, wildlife and ecology is in danger but they don't count. So who's worried?

Make a difference, show Love, understanding and Tolerance. Plant a Tree.

4:25PM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

scary days

4:07AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

Oil,oil oil. Thats all we seem to hear about these days. Obviously it isn't safe at all to drill.

12:21AM PDT on Aug 2, 2010

Are we surprised? This is a BIG wake up call!!!

5:32PM PDT on Aug 1, 2010

Wow

4:22PM PDT on Aug 1, 2010

Disgraceful! Thanks for the post :)

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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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