This week marks the unlucky 13th anniversary of one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history. On July 25, 2010, a pipeline operated by Enbridge – the same corporation operating the risky Line 5 in the Strait of Mackinac – burst and released dirty tar sands oil into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. Nearly forty miles of the Kalamazoo River were closed for cleanup until June 2012. Enbridge paid more than $177 million in penalties and was required to improve safety measures. The estimated cost of the cleanup was more than $1 billion.
Corrosion fatigue – poor maintenance by Enbridge – was cited as the underlying cause of the catastrophic breach by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. NTSB Chair Deborah Hersman compared Enbridge’s inept handling of the spill to the Keystone Kops.
“Why didn’t they recognize what was happening, and what took so long?” she asked.