Updated July 10, 2012: A report by the National Transportation Safety Board has found that Enbridge Inc. did not follow its own safety procedures and was aware of flaws in the pipeline five years before the spill. The Kalamazoo spill has become the most costly onshore oil spill in US history. [more..]
In 2010 a tar sands oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan despoiled 40 miles of river and released a toxic cloud. According to an article in the Tyee, Spill from Hell: Diluted Bitumen:
The local residents and EPA responders near Kalamazoo quickly learned that bitumen and diluent do not stay together once released into the environment.
Volatile portions of the diluent containing toxic fumes of benzene and toluene began off-gassing in the area, impacting the health of almost 60 per cent of the local population with symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, coughing and fatigue. Clean-up crews were issued respirators to protect them from toxic fumes.
Local residents interviewed by the Tyee reported that even weeks after the Kalamazoo spill, they could still smell the fumes up to 50 kilometres away. The local health department went to door-to-door in the days after the spill to assess acute symptoms. They also instituted a voluntary evacuation within about one mile of the river to limit people’s exposure to benzene fumes — a known carcinogen.
As reported in the Michigan Messenger, a toxicologist found the Kalamazoo spill much more toxic than previously acknowledged. Thus far, the EPA has recovered 35% more oil than the pipeline’s owner, Calgary-based Enbridge Energy, reported as spilled.
The clean up, originally estimated to take one year, is far from completed. Switchboard has reported that the Kalamazoo tar sands spill has become the most costly pipeline spill in history with no end in sight to the clean up.
The Google Earth add-on view below applies this reality to the Keystone XL and expands the pipeline corridor to encompass a possible voluntary evacuation zone should a spill occur:
This file is for personal use only. Distribution and posting to the Internet is not permitted without written permission. All site contents ©Thomas Bachand 2012.