Kalamazoo oil spill: Environmental group calls for more pipeline safety standards, accountability

A Canada goose attempts to fly out of the Kalamazoo River the day after the Kalamazoo oil spill in 2010.

A Canada goose attempts to fly out of the Kalamazoo River the day after the oil spill in 2010. MLive / Kalamazoo Gazette file photo

KALAMAZOO, MI — A report says the example set by the Kalamazoo oil spill calls for more pipeline standards and a thorough look into the properties of heavy crude oil known as diluted bitumen.

The report, issued today by the National Wildlife Federation, examines the type of oil flowing through Enbridge’s 6B pipeline when more than 800,000 gallons spilled into the Kalamazoo River nearly two years ago.
“We still don’t know enough about what tar sands (oil) does to a pipe,” said Susan Casey-Lefkowitz, international program director with the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Diluted bitumen,or tar sands, is heavy crude oil mixed with chemicals so it can be transported through a pipeline.
Environmental organizations such as the NWF and the Natural Resources Defense Council have opposed pipelines projects like Keystone XL or Enbridge’s 6B replacement because of spills.
“One thing we know from the record (of Enbridge) is that we haven’t seen the last of their spills from their leaky pipeline network,” said Jeremy Symons, senior vice president for the NWF. The report shows that 6,781,950 gallons of oil spilled in 804 incidents from 1999 to 2010.
“You can’t make the same mistake 800 times.”
Some of the report’s recommendations are:
  • “Implement stronger pipeline safety standards that account for the increased dangers of transporting Canadian tar sands oil.”
  • “Ensure thorough review of all pipeline projects, requiring full disclosure by companies of the type of oil being transported, so communities aren’t caught unaware and unprepared for spills. “
  • “Make sure oil companies are held liable when accidents happen. Communities and natural resources must be made whole after spills and other disasters, regardless of how much it ends up costing Big Oil. The industry, not taxpayers, should bear the cost of its mistakes.” …

Originally published on MichiganLive.com

By Fritz Klug

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