Michigan Oil Spill Victims Voice Concerns and Frustrations

Lake Michigan Sunset
Lake Michigan Shoreline, photo by Mick Stolz, Battle Creek, MI

If you’re from the Great Lakes region, chances are you’ve dipped your toes in the cold waters of Lake Superior, watched the sun set over Lake Michigan or fished off a pier in Lake Huron.

The Great lakes offer so much to those that live near and far; most people that are lucky enough to experience their beauty, walk away with a feeling of passion and enthusiasm to protect them.

Unfortunately, because industry and some legislators do not understand their importance, the Great Lakes are at risk of becoming the next oil spill victim.

Our country is allowing industry, like Enbridge Energy partners, to transport an unstable toxic oil and gas mix (diluted bitumen or dilbit), in and around our waters.

The growing concern around this unstable product was highlighted in a recent report titled: Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks.

Because the  issues discussed in the report impact the Great Lakes so severely, the National Wildlife Federation Great Lakes Regional Center held a forum in Battle Creek, MI to talk with residents directly about their personal impacts due to a tar sands oil spill, which spilled nearly 1 million gallons of toxic oil into the Kalamazoo River Watershed. When a tar sands oil spill occurs, the impacts are more devastating and much different than a conventional crude oil spill.

Residents from Calhoun County, MI learned more about this product and why they should be concerned about their health, the health of the river ecosystem, and long term impacts to their communities.

We also wanted to warn the public, representatives and government agencies that the same pipeline that has caused an insurmountable amount of damage to their homes has the potential to do the same over and over again – especially near the Great Lakes.

Residents from communities impacted by the Enbridge oil spill were asked to reach out to their members of Congress requesting that new laws and regulations be developed to safeguard the Great Lakes region from becoming the next victim.

Concerned community members also made a formal call for a long-term health study so that those still dealing with health issues can have the support they deserve and so first responders can better understand how to properly respond to a spill of this nature, once it occurs.

To learn more about this issue and help prevent expansions of these pipelines in our heartlands, please visit NWF Action Fund Center.

Also, watch these videos on how landowners are being bullied into having these dangerous pipelines built under their land.

Tar sands pipelines running through Great Lakes region
The top three locations at risk of a raw tar sands oil spill from the Tar Sands Pipelines Safety Risks report
Battle Creek Forum, Enbridge tar sands oil spill
Impacted residents request support for a long-term health study at NWF’s forum, which disclosed impacts due to a raw tar sands oil spill.