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Archive for Saturday, July 31, 2010

Wildlife rescue escalates at Michigan oil spill

July 31, 2010

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— Volunteers and government officials scrambled on Friday to save geese and other wildlife damaged by an oil spill in a southern Michigan river as the Canadian company that owns the ruptured pipeline said the crude had been contained.

Enbridge Inc., based in Calgary, Alberta, said it was preparing to remove the damaged section of pipe as its focus shifted to cleaning up the spilled oil in the Kalamazoo River, which it estimates at 820,000 gallons. The Environmental Protection Agency puts the total at more than 1 million gallons.

The oil is contained by boom and other devices that can keep it in place until vacuum equipment can suck it up, company spokesman Alan Roth said. More than 70 vacuum trucks and three dozen boats had been deployed for the task.

“It’s been captured, it’s not going anywhere,” Roth said.

Company and federal officials say they don’t believe the oil will reach Lake Michigan, where the river empties about 80 miles from where the oil has been contained. But EPA officials say it could take a couple of months to clean up the spill, and the cause is under investigation.

Enbridge said Friday it had recovered 100,800 gallons of oil and estimated that 420,000 gallons are in a holding area and will be pumped into tanks.

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