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Enbridge gets state permit to dredge in Morrow Lake, now to find a suitable location

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality

This week Enbridge Energy got a permit that will allow the company to dredgesome of the oil that remains from the Kalamazoo River oil spill. But the company still needs to find the right location to do the work.

Enbridge is already dredgingat two locations in Calhoun County close to the oil spill. One is near Ceresco Dam; the other is in Battle Creek. But the bulk to the dredging needs to happen in Morrow Lake near Kalamazoo. The site is almost 40 miles downstream from where the pipeline broke.

Finding the right spot to do that work in Morrow Lake has been controversial. Last week, township official rejected the company’s first proposed locationnear dozens of homes and Bell’s Brewery. They said Enbridge didn’t prove the work wouldn’t have a negative impact on neighboring property owners. They also cited human health concerns among other reasons.

Enbridge now has the state permit it needs from Michigan’s Department of Environmental Quality to dredge in Morrow Lake. But company officials say they still haven’t decided where exactly that work should happen.

Federal regulators have ordered Enbridge to complete the work by the end of the year.

Enbridge had asked for an extension but federal regulators denied that request. Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum says the company is crafting a response to regulators’ request for more information.

There’s no immediate timeframe to pick the new dredging location near Morrow Lake. But “the sooner, the better,” Manshum said.

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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