Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Governor Granholm Slams Enbridge Response on Spill, Oil Nears Galesburg

WOOD TV is reporting that the oil slick is nearing Galesburg this morning. Just to the west of Galesburg is Morrow Lake, and efforts are being made to make sure that body of water is, in the words of an EPA official, the "last stand". If not, the chances of reaching Lake Michigan become even greater.

Governor Granholm doesn't seem to trust Enbridge to tell the truth on what has happened here, and after the Gulf spill, can't say as I blame her.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm is not happy with the response of Enbridge Energy Partners to the Marshall oil spill that has now according to Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel spilled 19,500 barrels of oil into the region.

Calhoun and Kalamazoo Counties have both declared a state of emergency because of a massive oil spill near Marshall, making them eligible for federal help and the Governor wants the EPA to take over the cleanup immediately, and not leave it up to Enbridge Energy.

She also doubts their estimates of the amount of oil that has leaked saying:

"I have great knowledge that companies will do what they can to protect their reputation, their interest and their shareholders. I worry that we were undersold in terms of the amount of crude that was released. We do not want to see a repeat of what happened in the Gulf."

A state of disaster was declared last night by Executive Order, and that will free up even more resources to help tackle the spill. Watch the presser here:

The area is being closed off with barricades where they can, and the DNRE is advising people to stay away, even issuing tickets to people on the water last night. Many volunteers have wanted to help with the animals, but the fear is they will do more harm than good - so please, leave that to the pros. Besides, this is a highly toxic environment that could make you sick as well.

Mary Dettloff, with the DNRE cautions the Benzene level of the water and the air near the water can be very dangerous to humans. State and federal agencies are waiting for special respirators that will allow their teams to take to the river banks and begin animal rescue efforts.

It's heartening to see so many people that want to help, and perhaps they will get that opportunity later - but let the officials take care of things for now. People are asked to call 1-800-306-6837 and report the location if you spot any animals in distress.

Another factor here is they aren't quite sure what will happen if this hits the PCBs that are present in the area. Past the dam on Morrow Lake is an EPA Superfund clean-up site, and they aren't too worried about it, but... well, you know how that goes.

The Kalamazoo River Superfund site stretches 80 miles from the dam downstream to the mouth of the river in Saugatuck.

To what extent the oil — and more specifically the benzene that evaporates off of it — will have on the polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, that are located in river banks, flood plains and sediment is not yet known, Dollhopf said.

Environmental experts are saying that this is "like another nail in the coffin" for cleaning up the river - and that the damage is going to last for years.

* Sigh *

This is why we can't have nice things.

And one last horrifying note: The juxtaposition of this coverage, surrounded by constant ads from certain politicians that are screaming for "less regulation!" on business, is really enough to turn your stomach. Who needs benzene to make you nauseous when we have politics?