Update: EPA: 1M gallons of oil may be in Michigan river.

A dead jellyfish floats amidst oil in the Gulf of Mexico southwest of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River on the coast of Louisiana, Thursday, May 6, 2010. Oil has spread 40 miles west-southwest of the Mississippi River and 25 miles southeast of Port Fourchon, La. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

A dead jellyfish floats amidst oil in the Gulf of Mexico southwest of the Southwest Pass of the Mississippi River on the coast of Louisiana, Thursday, May 6, 2010. Oil has spread 40 miles west-southwest of the Mississippi River and 25 miles southeast of Port Fourchon, La. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

By TIM MARTIN, Associated Press Writer

BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – Federal officials now estimate that more than 1 million gallons of oil may have spilled into a major river in southern Michigan, and the governor is sharply criticizing clean-up efforts as “wholly inadequate.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency released the update Wednesday night, shortly after Gov. Jennifer Granholm lambasted attempts to contain the oil flowing down the Kalamazoo River. She warned of a “tragedy of historic proportions” if the oil reaches Lake Michigan, which is still at least 80 miles downstream from where oil has been seen.

Granholm called on the federal government for more help, saying resources being marshaled by the EPA and Enbridge Inc., which owns the pipeline that leaked the oil, were “wholly inadequate.”

Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge said earlier Wednesday that it had redoubled its efforts to clean up the mess. Chief executive Patrick D. Daniel said the company had made “significant progress,” though he had no update on a possible cause, cost or timeframe for the cleanup. The company didn’t return messages for comment after Granholm’s statements.

The overall work force on the spill Wednesday was likely more than 400 people.

EPA officials said they’re ramping up efforts with air and water testing. Local officials said they weren’t concerned about municipal water supplies.

Houston-based Enbridge Energy Co. spilled almost 19,000 gallons of crude oil onto Wisconsin’s Nemadji River in 2003. Another 189,000 gallons of oil spilled at the company’s terminal two miles from Lake Superior, though most was contained.

In 2007, two spills released about 200,000 gallons of crude in northern Wisconsin as Enbridge was expanding a 320-mile pipeline. The company also was accused of violating Wisconsin permits designed to protect water quality during work in and around wetlands, rivers and streams, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said. The violations came during construction of a 321-mile, $2 billion oil pipeline across that state. Enbridge agreed to pay $1.1 million in 2009.

The Michigan leak came from a 30-inch pipeline, which was built in 1969 and carries about 8 million gallons of oil daily from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

The river already faced major pollution issues.

An 80-mile segment of the river that begins at Morrow Lake and five miles of a tributary, Portage Creek, have unsafe levels of PCBs and were placed on the federal Superfund list of high-priority hazardous waste sites in 1990. The Kalamazoo site also includes four landfills and several defunct paper mills.

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One response to “Update: EPA: 1M gallons of oil may be in Michigan river.

  1. The Destructionist

    On Monday night (July 26) an oil pipeline – owned by Enbridge Energy Inc. – burst and spilled over 1,000,000+ gallons of crude into the Kalamazoo River near Battle Creek, Michigan. Michiganders are scrambling to stop the flow from getting into Lake Michigan, but I fear their efforts are in vain.

    According to the latest local news reports, it seems that Enbridge was slow to react to the emergency, while under reporting the actual amount of oil that was leaked into the river. Since Monday, the situation has grown even worse. Birds and other animal wildlife, coated with oil, have been found. People living along the river have been warned to evacuate the area along the river way and not to drink their well water for fear of contamination.

    1,000,000+ gallons of oil may not sound like much to some, considering the amount of oil now floating just underwater in the Gulf of Mexico, but in such a confined area – like the Kalamazoo River – that amount is devastating. As the oil continues to flow west, it will soon reach Lake Michigan, affecting the drinking water of millions of people, killing all wildlife, and despoiling the true beauty of the great lake.

    I’m really starting to believe that corporations don’t give a damn about anything other than their profits. As I stated in one of my previous blog posts (Who Put Corporations in Charge?), “…what good is money, after all, if you don’t have air to breathe, water to drink, or food to eat without fear of contamination?”

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