Environment Picture

Editorial: Kalamazoo River a casualty of our dependence on dirty fuels, but change is on the way

One of the ugly costs of depending so exclusively on fossil fuels to power the nation’s economy was vividly illustrated in July when a 30-inch oil pipeline failed in Marshall, spewing nearly one million gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River system.

Subsequent investigation showed the pipeline’s owner, Enbridge Energy Partners, had been warned by federal regulators about corrosion and other potentially catastrophic problems with the pipeline before the spill.

As a policy-based organization, the Michigan Environmental Council is committed to ensuring that the strongest possible protections are in place to guard against disasters that degrade the Great Lakes ecosystem, threaten public health, drive down property values and hamstring economic development. We went to the river to survey the damage, but our real expertise will be brought to bear at the State Capitol and with our Washington Congressional delegation.

If the spill exposes shortcomings in either the regulations or their enforcement, MEC will lead the charge to reform the laws and/or the way they are enforced.

Simultaneously, MEC and numerous partners from throughout the region will continue our work to provide safer alternatives to dangerous fossil fuels.

We’re not delusional. We know oil’s going to be around for awhile.

But we’re working, one gallon at a time if need be, to minimize the need for oil by creating strong policy solutions like public transit, biofuels, compact development, Complete Streets, renewable energy and a host of other oil-saving options.
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