July 29, 2010- Damage from a massive oil pipeline spill in Michigan is worsening today, as an estimated one million gallons of crude oil spread through a tributary of the Kalamazoo River towards Lake Michigan, threatening drinking water and habitat.
Statement of Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune
How many oil disasters will it take before we wake up? We’re still reeling from the tragedy in the Gulf Coast. Now the Midwest is facing another massive spill as the result of an unsafe pipeline.
Oil from this faulty pipeline is now spreading towards Lake Michigan and threatening drinking water. Worse, there’s a chance that the oil could release other contaminants from the already polluted river sediment, making the situation much more serious.
This disaster comes right as the federal government is considering a proposal to build a massive new pipeline that would carry the world’s dirtiest oil from the Canadian tar sands across the Midwest. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would jeopardize an aquifer that is the most important source of water for the High Plains region-America’s breadbasket. Clearly, we can’t afford to take that risk.
It’s time to heed the lesson from these oil disasters. Instead of going to greater and riskier lengths to support the oil industry, we should be investing in the kind of clean, safe energy that will keep our waterways intact and help infuse new life into our economy.
Michigan in particular stands to benefit from investment in clean energy technology like electric cars. New plants to build electric car technology are already opening in the state. Instead of worrying about oil-tainted drinking water, communities in Michigan could be seeing an explosion of good, lasting, clean energy jobs.
These oil disasters are a wake up call. The price of dirty energy is simply too high. We need our leaders to deliver a bold plan to end America’s dependence on oil and put America on the path to become a leader in the global clean energy economy.
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