The estimates on the oil spill in southern Michigan's Kalamazoo River are getting worse, with the EPA last night saying there could be one million gallons of oil in the water. And this is not the oil company's first spill.
The oil is from a pipeline owned by Canada's Enbridge Inc., and was originally leaked into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. Now the oil is about 80 miles from Lake Michigan where, if the oil gets there, Governor Jennifer Granholm warned there would be a "tragedy of historic proportions." And the Environmental Protection Agency last night upped its original estimate of the size of the spill to one million gallons. Going with the previous estimate, the AP puts it in perspective:
An 800,000 gallon spill would be enough to fill 1-gallon jugs lined side by side for nearly 70 miles. It also could fill a wall-in football field including the end zones with a 14-foot-high pool of oil.
This is not the first spill from an Enbridge pipeline, either. The company's Houston affiliate, Enbridge Energy Co., in 2003 spilled 19,000 gallons of oil into Wisconsin's Nemadji River, and 189,000 gallons a couple of miles from Lake Superior, most of which was contained. And that's not all! More from the AP:
In 2007, two spills released about 200,000 gallons of crude in northern Wisconsin as Enbridge was expanding a 320-mile pipeline. The company also was accused of violating Wisconsin permits designed to protect water quality during work in and around wetlands, rivers and streams, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. The violations came during construction of a 321-mile, $2 billion oil pipeline across that state. Enbridge agreed to pay $1.1 million in 2009.
Sadly, none of this is even remotely surprising.