840,000 gallons of oil has leaked from an Enbridge Energy Partners pipeline into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan since Monday, and Michigan Governor, Jennifer Granholm is sounding the alarms for help. Granholm is seeking help from the Environmental Protection Agency and a Canada-based energy company in an effort to contain the oil spill that could potentially flow into Lake Michigan if it isn’t stopped.
The oil started leaking since Monday from Talmadge Creek into the Kalamazoo River, which runs through the city of Battle Creek and into Lake Michigan. Fortunately the 30-inch line that normally carries 190,000 barrels of oil per day has already been shut down. Now the main focus is to contain the slick before it becomes a “smaller version of what has happened in the Gulf” says Granholm. Officials still don’t know what caused the oil leak, but the important part is that there isn’t “enough resources right now for containing the spill to the level where we can feel comfortable.”
Being called one of the largest oil spills in Midwest History, the spill has already affected the local wildlife, with some fish and birds coated in oil. President Barack Obama has already pledged a swift response to the requests for help, but as of now Governor Granholm feels “the response has been anemic.”
Health officials are worried that the oil spill can have lasting health effects on its residents. Two homes have already been evacuated, and 25 people worried about their health have also been relocated. People are urged to not swim or fish near the affected areas. Calhoun County Health Officer Jim Rutherford worries that “there is a real possibility that it will leach into the water supply,” but the damages won’t be evident until later.