Groups protest tar sands oil on spill anniversary
July 26, 2012
On the second anniversary of the costliest onshore oil spill in U.S. history, environmental groups held rallies in several states Wednesday to raise concerns about transporting tar sands oil in underground pipelines.
Demonstrators walked along the riverfront in Battle Creek, near the southwestern Michigan site where a pipeline ruptured in 2010 and spewed hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River. Others staged “We Are the Kalamazoo” events in other states to rally opposition to new and expanded pipelines for carrying oil from sand deposits.
Tar sands are sand and rock that contain crude bitumen, a heavy form of crude oil.
“By taking a stand against tar sands, we are fighting for people’s rights and health,” said Susan Connolly, who participated in the Battle Creek walk and lives in Marshall, the town nearest the spill.
She said the spill — which spewed an estimated 843,000 gallons of crude in the river and a tributary creek — created fumes that gave her family nausea and headaches. The cleanup has cost so far a record $800 million.
Organizers said events also were held in Oklahoma, Washington state, Nebraska, New York, Connecticut, Montana, Maine, Vermont and Delaware.
The pipeline, operated by Enbridge Inc., ruptured on July 25, 2010. Officials said 35 miles of waterways and wetlands were fouled and about 320 people reported symptoms from crude oil exposure.