The past couple weeks we’ve been commenting and posting on the latest from the Keystone XL Pipeline grand finale, Obama’s final rejection and the follow on response from the Republican “leadership” / Presidential hopefuls. Incase there were any lingering doubts about why we needed to kill Keystone and why we need to kill tar sands in general and fossil fuels in general, this might be a good time to review the Kalamazoo River oil spill from way back in 2010, an environmental and economic disaster largely under reported and mostly forgotten by the press.
To keep it short and sweet, late July 2010 an oil pipeline operated by Enbridge ruptured and discharged somewhere just under a million gallons of diluted bitumen (heavy oil) coming from Canada to the US. What ensued was this. The EPA thought the clean up would be relatively easy, a couple weeks, and it’s turned in to years at this point. Tar Sands oil basically needs to be diluted (watered down) because of how thick it is. When there’s a break / leak the diluents evaporate quickly and we’re left with the awful super heavy tar crude, which basically sunk into the river and well, unpleasant doesn’t begin to describe it.
Sorry for over simplifying the above, the point to be made is that tar sands, their extraction and when something goes wrong, which it of course did and will again in the future is all pretty disastrous. The cost to date for the clean up has been just south of a billion dollars!!! Mind boggling.
We might want to think that after 5 years and almost a billion dollars spent the mess is cleaned up, finally, in truth, not so much. This past June the US DOJ has ordered that Enbridge must also continue with and fully restore the local environment. With the recent settlement announced the clean up cost is touching on about $850 million.