Battle Creek, MICrews are working to clean up an oil spill resulting from a broken oil pipeline that has contaminated a major river in Michigan. According to a report on MSNBC.com, Governor Jennifer M. Ganholm is warning that if the oil reaches Lake Michigan, only 80 miles downstream, it could be a "tragedy of historic proportions."
According to estimates from the Environmental Protection Agency, by late Wednesday afternoon more than 1,000,000 gallons of oil had leaked from the Canadian-owned pipeline into Talmadge Creek. Enbridge Inc., the company that oversees the pipeline, estimated that about 819,000 gallons of oil had spilled into the creek on Monday before the leak was stopped.
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Reports indicate that by late Wednesday the oil had traveled at least 35 miles downstream from the leak in Calhoun County's Marshall Township. The oil has already killed fish, coated wildlife and is emitting a strong unpleasant odor in Marshall Township. It had passed through Battle Creek, a city of 52,000 residents about 110 miles west of Detroit, and was headed toward Morrow Lake, a key point near a Superfund site upstream of Kalamazoo, the largest city in the region.
Granholm reportedly called the federal government asking for more help, stressing that the resources so far enlisted by the EPA and Enbridge were "wholly inadequate."
Enbridge chief executive Patrick D. Daniel said the Calgary, Alberta-based company was increasing its efforts to contain and clean up the mess, but has no update as to the possible cause of the leak or the time frame for clean-up.