Red Cross distributes water in area of Michigan oil spill

Roland Stoy

The Red Cross was distributing drinking water to the public in the area of the oil spill along the Kalamazoo River on Monday, and U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer, D-Battle Creek, announced a formal investigation of the spill.

Also, in the ongoing effort to save oil-drenched animals, Binder Park Zoo announced rehabilitated turtles released into a new home there.

Red Cross spokesman Jack Calahan said drinking water was being handed out at the Calhoun County Fairgrounds, Battle Creek Red Cross headquarters and at the First Baptist Church in Ceresco, after an official advisory warning from the Calhoun County Public Health Department to anyone within 200 feet of the Kalamazoo River

Ceresco is five miles east of Marshall, and oil has traveled at least 25 miles west on the river.

For more on the Red Cross efforts, go to calhounbranchmi.redcross.org and click on Oil Spill Reference Sheet.

In other aspects of the crisis, the Associated Press report said the section of the pipeline where the leak occurred could be removed early this week, and is expected to be taken to a National Transportation Safety Board lab for examination.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it had rejected the Enbridge long-range cleanup plan because of "deficiencies in content and technical details,” while Schauer, said at a press conference the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee will investigate the spill. The investigation will be conducted by the subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials, of which Schauer is a member.

Binder Park said in a press release Monday two rehabilitated turtles were being released into their new home at the zoo, having been recovered by U.S Fish and Wildife Service (USFWS) crews and taken to the rehab center in Marshall.

They said 91 animals, including birds and mammals, had been taken to the center to be stabilized and cleaned, as of Monday.

Valdo Calvert, of the USFWS, told The Daily Reporter at the Marshall center Friday, the expertise of Binder Park officials has been invaluable in the operation being conducted by Enbridge and his agency.

“These guys know how to rehabilitate them,” he said.

Calvert said of the many people who have wanted to come in and help, it may have hurt the animals more, and cited the danger of working with hazardous material.

Photographer Cherie Hobbs, of Homer, said last Friday she spent time in contact with oil-laden animals last week and became “very ill.”

There were no reports of illness in the public Monday.

The Canadian pipeline company continues to estimate the total spill at 820,000 gallons while other reports put it at over a million gallons. The leak came from a 30-inch pipeline, which was built in 1969 and carries about 8 million gallons of oil daily from Griffith, Ind., to Sarnia, Ontario.

"Our goal is to return the river to the state it was in before this incident," Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel said in a press conference.

The Daily Reporter