Tuesday, July 27, 2010

State Emergency Operations Center Activated in Response to Oil Spill

Just released from the Governor's Office:

Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today activated the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) to ensure all state resources are readily available to protect public health and the environment in response to the oil spill that occurred July 26 near Marshall.

Enbridge Energy Partners shut down the pipeline after locating a leak on July 26, which stopped the source of the oil. To help contain and remove the spill, seven booms with skimmers were placed in the Talmadge Creek and Kalamazoo River to collect the oil. Response agencies are also working to develop a barrier around the spill. No injuries have been reported.

“Our focus is protecting Michigan citizens and our environment by providing any needed state resources to expediently address the situation,” said Granholm. “Officials with several state agencies are actively engaged in this response effort and are working in concert with local and federal agencies to ensure that our response is timely and effective.”

Officials with the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) conducted a helicopter flyover today of the affected areas to adequately assess the extent of the spill and impacts to the environment. Since July 26, a representative of the MSP/EMHSD has been on scene to assist local response efforts as needed.

Officials with the Michigan Department of Natural Resources and Environment (DNRE) are on scene working to conduct an environmental review and ensure the safety and protection of wildlife, fisheries and water resources. To expedite the delivery of resources to the affected area, the Michigan State Police (MSP) Traffic Safety Division lifted Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations extending the number of hours allowed for commercial drivers.

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is advising people not to eat fish from Talmadge Creek or the Kalamazoo River. The MDCH is also advising people not to touch or swim in the Talmadge Creek or Kalamazoo River and to avoid the general area of the spill. These advisories are temporary and will remain in effect until a determination is made by state and federal officials that affected water is safe for fishing and swimming.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture (MDA) is mobilizing the State Animal Response Team (MI SART), which is an interagency, coordinated resource dedicated to Michigan animal emergency preparation, planning, response and recovery. If activated, MI SART will implement a safe, environmentally sound and efficient response on the local, county, state and federal level.

The MDA is advising all producers and homeowners using the Kalamazoo River, or other connected surface water, for crop or lawn irrigation or watering animals (including livestock, pets, etc.), to immediately stop using those sources of water and seek alternate sources. Additionally, people should restrict access by livestock or pets to those impacted water sources.

Residents with concerns or who wish to report affected wildlife are encouraged to call 1-800-306-6837, which has been set up by Enbridge.

The Battle Creek Enquirer is on top of this story with numerous links on their front page - check with them for the latest info.