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DNRE-Kalamazoo-RiverMichigan Department of Natural Resources, via Flickr

Oil in the Kalamazoo River on July 28, 2010, three days after an Enbridge pipeline burst, causing the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history. The spill was particularly difficult to clean up because some of the oil sank.

By: Kate Golden

Oil that sinks is hard to clean up.

That was the big lesson after energy giant Enbridge’s pipeline burst, causing oil to flow into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River in 2010, some 75 miles from where it empties into Lake Michigan. After more than three years and a billion dollars, oil remains in the river.

So a refinery’s proposal to ship heavy crude oil from Superior across the Great Lakes has emergency responders gearing up to bolster gaps in current oil spill response plans.

And the gaps are substantial, according to a June 2013 report from the U.S. Coast Guard’s research and development division.

“Current methods are inadequate to find and recover submerged oil, with responders having to reinvent the techniques on each occasion,” the report said.

“Responses to recent higher profile submerged oil spills have shown responders have almost no capability in detection and recovery.” (read full article here)

 

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