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Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
CONTRIBUTION · 18th November 2011
Michelle BarlondSmith
I find myself writing this letter and sending photos to your local newspaper. Why, because I fear that what has happened to my community is about to happen to yours.

I live in Battle Creek, Michigan along the Kalamazoo River which is where Enbridge Energy dumped 1.1 million gallons of tar sand oil and who knows what other chemicals into a 40 mile stretch of river.

I have spent the last 16 months documenting the tar sand oil spill (and no I will not use the industry politically correct oil sands terminology) and the spills effect on the people, wildlife, communities, health, and environment.

I have gone along the river and talked to the residents. I have spoken to doctors, nurses, patients, business owners, farmers and scientists. It has disrupted the lives of people in 6 cities and villages along the river.

Life has changed here and not for the better. I have seen my neighbors fight illness after illness. The ones who were ill prior to the spill have worsened… some have lost the battles. I have watched business owners stress over the possibility of losing their business, income, homes, and retirement plans. Some businesses have just closed. I have watched people move and neighborhoods and communities divide.

The wildlife has mostly disappeared and the river is still closed and will be for quite a bit longer. I am sure that you are being advised by Enbridge that they have learned from this spill (and I hope they have) . But I have watched your meetings online and feel there are some things you should be warned about.

They will tell you they can tell by sensors in the pipeline when there is a problem and can shut down the pipeline in minutes… false… ask them how long it took them to shut down Line 6b. Some of these photos were taken before the call to the National Reporting Center was made.

They will tell you this will be the state of the art pipeline… ask them about the difference in gauge of the steel for regular crude and tar sand oil. (ask Trans Canada how many spills in the first year of their brand new Keystone 1 pipeline )

They will tell you that they have emergency procedures in place (just in case) but as they just shut down most of the cleaning for the year here… ask them what will happen if there is a winter spill. Ask them what the notification and evacuation plans are… because at some point there will be a spill.

They will not tell you about the health issues or lawsuits or fights from landowners on access. They will not tell you of the stress of living through the clean up. The lost of livestock or income from farming. They will not tell you about the lost of tourism and the economic devastation your city will go through.

They will promise you everything to put this pipeline in but in the event of a spill… you will not be happy with the outcome.

You have the added problem of tankers and storage tanks… go read Not 1 Drop and Sound Truth and Corporate Myths by Dr Riki Ott.

Read and study everything you can find because this decision will change your lives and your grand children’s lives - the future generations of your town.

So to you my friends in the North…I understand you are voting… vote for those who will protect you.

Vote for those who are looking out for the community…. Because I guarantee that Enbridge is not. It is profits over people for them…

Best regards,
Michelle BarlondSmith
Battle Creek Michigan
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
amazing bit of information
Comment by James Wold on 20th November 2011
Thank-you for taking the time it toke to compile all this information. SCARY STUFF. Enough to make anyone sick to see our rivers and streams ending up to look like this not to mention the heath issues. I would like to see Enbridge respond to this page in simple down to earth language. It sure has me thinking.
Comment by Maggie Jo on 19th November 2011

This just makes me sick to my stomach.
Kalamazoo clean-up
Comment by Karen on 19th November 2011
Check out just how considerate, responsible and complete Enbridge was in their clean-up efforts with the Kalamazoo spill.
Real world experience vs a report
Comment by Some random citizen on 19th November 2011
What happens when, not if, the break occurs in a remote area in the middle of winter? Oh, I know! Enbridge has a saftey plan to coordinate the weather so they can swoop in and clean up. Like Battle Creek all will be well.