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Kalamazoo oil spill

While there is much discussion in the UK regarding the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, there has been little media coverage outside the US regarding another oil spill the happened in Michigan in July.

Just under a million gallons of oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River in July leaving wildlife and local residents with a big problem. The spill did not happen from a refinery or from leaking tanks but from a leaking pipeline 100 miles west of Detroit.

National Wildlife’s Tim Warman stated at the time of the incident:

"The pattern that we see here is a pattern of inadequate oversight and supervision [the government]...,"

The spill in Michigan happened on the 25th of July when the 30 inch diameter pipe that carries oil from Canada to the refineries in the mid west broke.

The spill wasn’t noticed until the next day, after nearly 20,000 barrels of oil flowed into Talmadge Creek that feeds the Kalamazoo River.

The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA), who carry out inspections on pipelines, are coming under close scrutiny in the US and have promised more inspectors and new rules in response.

The quicker a spill response is actioned, the quicker spill containment and cleanup devices can be put in place to cope with a spill. It’s hoped that the changes the PHMSA make to the way they work will have a beneficial effect on their spill response times in the future.

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