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Enbridge will miss deadline to finish cleaning up 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill

An oil pipeline company will miss the EPA’s year-end deadline to complete its cleanup of the 2010 Kalamazoo River oil spill.

More than 800 thousand gallons of crude leaked from a pipeline owned by Enbridge Energy. The spill fouled more than 30 miles of the Kalamazoo River.

In March, federal regulators gave Enbridge until December 31st to finish removing the remaining submerged oil in the river.

“We clearly can not accomplish all of that in the remaining weeks of 2013,” says Jason Manshum, an Enbridge spokesman. He blames the company’s difficulty in getting a local permit for a dredge pad near the Morrow Lake delta.   The company wanted to dump sludge from the river on the pad site.    People and businesses near the site fought against it. 

Manshum says now work will need to continue next year near Morrow Lake.

“Now when you isolate just Kalamazoo County and you look at (Morrow Lake) and the delta…clearly there was a setback in the late summer when we could not use the adjacent piece of property for a dredge pad site,” says Manshum.

Manshum expects cleanup work on the rest of the river will be done by the EPA’s deadline.

Enbridge has spent more than a billion dollars cleaning up the 2010 oil spill.

Last night, the Kalamazoo Board of Commissioners agreed to let Enbridge use part of a county park as part of the company's plan to dredge a section of the river near Morrow Lake.

Enbridge still needs approval from the EPA and the local township before the work can begin. 

Time is also an issue.  The work can only test place until ice starts forming on the river.   That may only give cleanup crews a few weeks to complete even this small project.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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