Oil Spill at Michigan’s Capital

A human oil spill, that is!


On July 18th, community members from across Michigan participated in the Lansing, Mich., We are the Kalamazoo Human Oil Spill event to memorialize two years passing since the largest and costliest inland oil spill in US history.

The tar sands spill occurred when a pipeline operated by Enbridge Inc., dumped approximately 1.2 million gallons of tar sands crude into a wetland that overflowed into the Kalamazoo River, contaminating nearly 40 miles of the watershed.

NWF photo: Human oil spill in Michigan’s Capital
This Human Oil Spill event comes on the heels of a scathing report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) lambasting the company for its poor response to the worst inland oil spill in the nation’s history. Despite numerous questions about the company’s ability to safely operate a major oil pipeline, Enbridge continues to move forward with expanding its massive Lakehead pipeline system, including Line 6B.

People across Michigan are rightfully infuriated that the State of Michigan is even considering allowing Enbridge to expand its pipeline when the company hasn’t shown one iota of remorse or proper accountability for the worst inland oil spill in history. Enbridge needs to prove they can operate safely before the State of Michigan signs-off on their massive expansion plan.

Nic Clark, campaigns director of Michigan Clean Water Action explains:

Michigan can’t afford another Enbridge oil disaster, and expanding this pipeline is a distraction from our clean energy future. That’s why we support efforts to increase our state’s renewable energy standard to 25% by the year 2025. We need to stop exporting our money and jobs importing dirty fossil fuels from other states and the Middle East. The 25% by 2025 proposal will increase the amount of clean energy produced right here in Michigan.

Tar sands oil is more corrosive, dirtier, more prone to spills, and harder to clean up than conventional crude oil. Further, extracting and refining tar sands oil requires the destruction of forests in Canada and the use of massive amounts of energy and water.

“The process is catastrophic for our environment and will have an even more devastating impact by speeding up climate change. Citizens across North America are fed up with our reliance on such a dirty and dangerous fuel and the catastrophic impact it has on climate change”, said Rita Chapman, Clean Water Program Director at Sierra Club Michigan Chapter.

“The youth of Michigan need our decision makers to help us protect Michigan’s great natural resources for future generations and help us create a more sustainable future that does not rely on dirty energy and sneaky corporations” said Liz Starke Coordinator of the Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition.

Please join the National Wildlife Federation’s Great Lakes Regional Center for our River Walk next week to show our continued solidarity around opposition to tar sands oil in the Great Lakes. You can also RSVP to these events, take action against tar sands, and find many more events happening around the country at NWF’s Action Fund Action Center.