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From Valdez to BP: A Corroded Promise in Kalamazoo

Across America, oil spills have wrought havoc on our land, wildlife, and the health of our families and communities. March 24 and April 20 represent the anniversaries of the worst oil spills in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez and the BP Deepwater Horizon spill, respectively. Together, these events dumped more than 5.65 million barrels of dirty oil in U.S. waters.

In light of this toxic anniversary, the Sierra Club presents a three-week look at oil companies' poisonous legacy across our nation.

D4 - Enbridge oil spill - EPA                                  Recovery of submerged oil on Morrow Lake, Michigan. Photo credit: US EPA

On July 26, 2010, a Canadian-owned pipeline ruptured in Michigan, tearing a five-foot gash along the pipe and spilling over 840,000 gallons of Canadian crude oil into the Kalamazoo river system. The oil moved 35 miles down the river toward Lake Michigan, prompting the governor to declare a state emergency and order voluntary evacuations for 61 homes. Months before the spill, the 41-year-old Enbridge pipeline was cited for inadequate corrosion monitoring by the Department of Transportation. Despite over two dozen safety citations since 2002, it appears that Enbridge still isn't moved to take full responsibility for its mistakes. Three weeks ago, Enbridge was ordered to finish cleaning the Kalamazoo site after oil was repeatedly found in sections of the river.


-- by Claire Price, Lands Team Intern

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