Update: Enbridge President Says Company Is Committed to Cleanup
Enbridge Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer Patrick Daniel said now that the oil spill has been contained, the cleanup effort includes the river banks as well as the Kalamazoo River.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency earlier this week rejected the company's long-term restoration plan but Daniel said his company will modify and resubmit the plan until EPA is satisfied. "We have been operating in this community since 1969, and we are going to continue to be here a long time and into the future," Daniel added.
Company officials have been meeting with residents and at least one report says Enbridge has offered to buy some houses affected by the spill. The energy company is setting up an office in Battle Creek, Mich., that will respond to questions and manage claims. For now, the company has manned a 24-hour hotline at 800.306.6837.
Steve Wuori, executive vice president, Liquids Pipelines, Enbridge Pipelines Inc., explained that this week the cleanup has focused on sections of the river above the Ceresco Dam ─ the confluence of the Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.
"We are recovering very little oil anymore off of the river as it has now gone down mostly to sheen." Wuori said.
Since the 6B pipeline on the Lakehead System burst on July 26, Enbridge Inc.shut down the pipeline and closed the isolation valves, stopping the source of the oil, which is near the company's Marshall, Mich., pump station, to Talmadge Creek.
Talmadge Creek feeds into the Kalamazoo River.
Line 6B is a 30-inch, 190,000 barrels per day (bpd) line transporting light synthetics, heavy and medium crude oil from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario. It is part of the Partnership's Lakehead System. According to Enbridge, the 1,900-mile system is the U.S. portion of the world's longest petroleum pipeline and has operated for more than 60 years. It transports crude oil from Western Canada to the United States, spanning from the international border near Neche, N.D., to the international border near Marysville, Mich., with an extension across the Niagara River into the Buffalo, N.Y., area.
The recovered oil is being kept in large tanks and measured on an ongoing basis to evaluate and confirm the amount of oil that was released.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the site includes a 25-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River, which is at higher than average levels due to heavy rainfalls. The site area lies between Marshall and Battle Creek and includes marshlands, residential areas, farmland, and businesses.
EPA is directing and monitoring all aspects of oil spill cleanup and containment efforts over 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River. The agency issued a field order outlining clear lines of authority for federal and state responders and naming EPA as the On-Scene Coordinator. The federal government intends to seek full reimbursement for all money spent on this response from the Enbridge, Inc.
On the day of the spill, EPA launched air monitoring to understand the level of benzene and volatile organic compound emissions from the spill. The federal agency is working with health agencies to interpret the data.
To see the latest information on the spill, visit www.epa.gov/enbridgespill/ . The state of Michigan has a video on its website showing contamination of the Kalamazoo River.
Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm declared a state of disaster in Calhoun County and potentially affected areas along the Kalamazoo River downstream of Talmadge. Citizens are reminded to stay away from the general area of the spill and avoid contact with affected waterways and wildlife. Residents with concerns, those with oil on their property, or people wishing to report affected wildlife can call the Enbridge hotline.
The Kalamazoo River lies within the Ducks Unlimited (DU) Great Lakes and Atlantic Regional Office’s Southeast Lake Michigan Watershed Priority Area. DU’s conservation program within this priority area incorporates scientific data and computer modeling to predict where mallards will settle on the landscape in the spring to nest. Southwestern Michigan, and the entire Southeast Lake Michigan watershed provide key habitat for Michigan-nesting mallards which have experienced a reduction in numbers over the previous years. DU has many active habitat restoration projects close to the spill area and will evaluate the effect of this spill on continuing efforts to restore emergent wetlands and establish native warm season grasses. As the spill is contained and the assessment phase begins, Ducks Unlimited will work to support state and federal agencies to reduce the impact of this event.
“We appreciate the great work being conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Michigan Department of Natural Resource and the Environment, and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as Enbridge employees and contractors,” said Ken Babcock, director of Ducks Unlimited’s Great Lakes/Atlantic regional office. “This unfortunate accident is something no one likes to see, and is very difficult to contain and clean, so we are glad to see cooperation and acceleration of the clean-up effort.”