Oil Spill in Celery City
July 27, 2010 1:50 PM   Subscribe

Sometime Sunday evening, an oil pipeline burst over Talmadge Creek near Marshall, Michigan, spilling an estimated 840,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River.

The oil has now reached Morrow Lake, just outside the city of Kalamazoo. Cleanup crews have temporarily suspended operations until additional equipment arrives due to the extremely high levels of benzine.

A Facebook group recruiting local volunteers has formed.

The pipeline runs from Indiana through Michigan to Ontario, Canada, and is owned by Enbridge Energy Partners. Corporate news briefings can be found here, right above their reported record earnings for second quarter 2010. They are fairly experienced in this sort of thing.
posted by Baby_Balrog (31 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You have got to be kidding me. First we're running out of oil, now the whole continent is drowning in the stuff.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 1:52 PM on July 27, 2010 [6 favorites]

Not The Onion, huh? And amazingly, unrelated to this.
posted by lholladay at 1:52 PM on July 27, 2010

Interestingly, former Michigan governor James Blanchard apparently sits on Enbridge's board of directors.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 1:54 PM on July 27, 2010 [2 favorites]

If the contractors maintaining this pipeline are anything like the contractors Enbridge uses to patch up the roads in Toronto after they dig a trench, this should not be in the least bit surprising.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 2:00 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

It's been a rough summer for the environment, and it's still only July.
posted by tommasz at 2:03 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

And meanwhile, there's now another oil leak in Louisiana, after a tug boat hit an oil well head‎ today (more info. here).
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 2:04 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Is there anything to say here but Jesus fucking Christ shitting prick fuck piss hell damn assholes?
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:04 PM on July 27, 2010 [10 favorites]

Astro Zombie has expressed my feelings on this perfectly.
posted by rtha at 2:17 PM on July 27, 2010 [3 favorites]

Lovely. Like Michigan needs more problems.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:18 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I just found out about it. My girlfriend is screaming stats at me from the other room. I guess it's up to 840,000 gallons now? This is totally not cool.
posted by rebent at 2:18 PM on July 27, 2010

I got a gal, in Kalamazoo...
posted by fixedgear at 2:18 PM on July 27, 2010

Dear Astro Zombie"
that spell or imprecation should take of things...does it work for tornadoes too?
posted by Postroad at 2:31 PM on July 27, 2010

I realize the Deepwater Horizon oil-volcano dwarfs this and the other new accidental discharge in the Gulf, but it leads one to wonder if there isn't something inherently dangerous about the extraction and transport of oil.

I mean, I fully intend to boycott British Petroleum at the pump and buy my oil from elsewhere (to burn and release into the atmosphere); and oil based products from elsewhere (I only buy my plastic products from FairTrade sources); and ride my bike to the shop (where Fiji water is magically restocked overnight by magic), but I'm starting to wonder if I'm not missing the bigger picture.

Excuse my sarcastic venting.
posted by vectr at 2:33 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

From the Bloomberg report on Enbridge:

The record earnings for the second quarter were primarily driven by strong performance in Liquids segment and the continued benefits of cost containment measures implemented in 2009.

Way to cheap out! Bonuses are in order!
posted by readery at 2:43 PM on July 27, 2010 [5 favorites]

At least pipelines can be turned off. Of course, pipeline breaks for various reasons (lack of maintenance is a problem, but the backhoe effect is also a biggie) are depressingly common.

It's sad that even relatively well run pipelines have a near 100% chance of at least some spillage at some point in their life. That said, IME, the small spills are dealt with relatively well because the owners almost always have enough insurance to cover any necessary remediation.
posted by wierdo at 2:46 PM on July 27, 2010

It's lucky that the energy industry has only dipped its toes in the water of alternative energy sources.

The way things are going, they'd make a 'benign' wind farm cause hurricanes; a tidal power malfunction would unleash a tsunami; and solar panels would somehow cause a massive solar flare that would burn us all to a crisp in no time flat.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:14 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't believe in an interventionist god but at this point it's like "fine you like oil so much why not be waist deep in it hahahahaha"
posted by The Whelk at 3:21 PM on July 27, 2010 [6 favorites]

Look, sometimes "life isn't fair".
posted by gman at 3:26 PM on July 27, 2010

(but I know, Whelky, that you do)
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:28 PM on July 27, 2010

perhaps the oil will kill the carp in lake michigan....
posted by HuronBob at 3:29 PM on July 27, 2010

perhaps the oil will kill the carp in lake michigan....

Asian carp, HuronBob. Could you please use the preferred nomenclature, dude?
posted by joe lisboa at 3:56 PM on July 27, 2010

The way things are going, they'd make a 'benign' wind farm cause hurricanes...

lolwut? The way things are going, you'd probably see a lot more of this.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 4:08 PM on July 27, 2010

know what, joe... I wouldn't miss ANY of the carp...but, you are right, the real threat is asian carp (and chicago)
posted by HuronBob at 4:37 PM on July 27, 2010

Apparently the Asian Carp are actually quite tasty, if they don't smash your face up first. I don't understand why we don't bounty those bastards - iirc there's still a coyote bounty in the U.P.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 5:53 PM on July 27, 2010

Hmm, I had some clever references to the '90s cartoon "Phantom 2040" BUT I CAN'T FIND THEM UNDER ALL THIS GODDAMN OIL!
posted by fuq at 6:29 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hmm... Enbridge wants to build a pipeline across Northern BC to ship oil to China via Kitimat. The government and other assorted shits-for-brains have been telling everyone how safe it'll be. I wonder how they'll spin this.
posted by klanawa at 6:51 PM on July 27, 2010

Hey metafilter, thanks for helping me break this news to my Michigan dwelling parents. Somehow they managed to not hear about as they went about their day today.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 7:34 PM on July 27, 2010

Locals have been tracking events and web sitings on Twitter with the #riveroil hashtag.

Recent links from there (all URLs expanded):
Tracking the oil spread on Google Maps
Executive order from Governor Granholm
Statement from Obama
Reporter denied access to spill site
Wildlife refuge seeks help with oil-coated animals
posted by ardgedee at 9:15 PM on July 27, 2010 [1 favorite]

the battle creek enquirer also has coverage

the thing that really gets me about this is that 30 to 40 years ago, there were many parts of the kalamazoo river that were messed up with all sorts of pollution and it's taken a long damn time to clean it up - and now this has to happen

morrow lake has a dam, and it is a pretty still body of water, so there's a chance they can stop it there
posted by pyramid termite at 10:33 PM on July 27, 2010

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