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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Enbridge spill into Kalamazoo River showing added risks of tar sands oil


One year ago on July 26, 2010, Enbridge Pipelines Inc. spilled more than 3.8 million litres of oil in Michigan after one of its pipelines ruptured.  More than 1.5 million litres ended up in Michigan waterways, including the Kalamazoo River.  Enbridge says that 3.48 million litres have been recovered.  News stories in the past couple of days are revealing the difficulties faced by clean up crews in recovering the last few hundred thousand litres.  The problem is the nature of the product spilled - bitumen from the Alberta tar sands mixed with "light hydrocarbons" refined in the U.S.  The heavy bitumen component is proving difficult to collect. 

The spill affected a 65-kilometre stretch of the Kalamazoo River.  The river has been closed off to recreational paddlers, fishermen and any other users since the spill.

Read the Financial Post article "Enbridge cleanup: Aftermath of a spill" by Sheldon Alberts at this link.

Meanwhile, Enbridge's latest newsletter called "eBridge", Volume 70, doesn't mention the Michigan spill (or the Norman Wells spill for that matter), but does celebrate Enbridge's ranking as #10 out of the Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada by "Corporation Knights" ("The Magazine for Clean Capitalism").