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Photo contributed by Michelle Barlondsmith
CONTRIBUTION · 19th 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
Kalamazoo Tar Oil Spill
Comment by Tar Oil remains on 24th January 2012
I do alternative news media for Radio. I interviewed John Bolenbaugh from Battle Creek Michigan. He has made over 90 video's that show the Tar left behind, and in the interview he tells about the make of the pipe, why it breaks, and that he was told to hide the Tar Oil not remove it.

Please check out his video's on youtube under his name.
Environmental Studies Student
Comment by Audrey on 23rd November 2011
How many groups have to oppose this for Enbridge to stop the madness? So many people say that we have to reduce usage of fossil fuels and they are trying to propogate the usage of the most horrendous one of the bunch to the fastest growing population in the world.
This is insane!
Anyone have Erin Brokovich's number?
just saying !!!
Comment by Sean on 22nd November 2011
Dear Chery !!! I'm pretty sure Rio Tinto-Alcan still bring in people from out of Province and Country to work, as did Eurocan when they opened. And Ocelot / Methanex did the same...
another thanks michelle
Comment by al on 21st November 2011
well there you have it, a picture is worth a thousand words, I see over ten thousand words from the unfortunate people of Kalamazoo,
Hey Harper and the rest of you nitwits, go for a swim or go fishing, maybe take your grandkids for a sight seeing expedition in the wonderful town of Kalamazoo, no bookings neccesary, seems there is not a lot of tourism as of late.
If our elected capitalist morons cant see the the ultimate outcome of a pipeline spill or tanker sinking, Ill send my mom down to slap their faces and make them pay attention, my god, how can they not see.
Keep up the faith Kalamazoo, if you are ever in Kitimat, Ill be more than happy to share what we have with you
thank you for your support
Al
thank you michelle and thankyou kitimat daily for posting
Comment by Tracy Petley on 19th November 2011
Thank you Michelle for taking the time to write and share your info with us. The best time to stop a spill of tar sands oil is before it ever hits a pipe. The sand blasting effects of the tar sand will cause a leak somewhere we wont know about for a long time because it will be under many feet of snow out of sight and electronics don't work in extreme cold very well. So when will it be found when if flows down a waterway to where someone can see it with their eyes and call to report it by then it will be way to late and no amount of money will fix it. And Enbridge wont clean it up properly anyway because you can't its impossible. Keep up the fight Michelle thanks again.
Thank you for the warning
Comment by Ric on 19th November 2011
Hi Michelle,
I am truly sorry to hear about the life changing and life threatening situation that has been dealt to you and your neighbors, also to the hundreds/thousands that live downstream. All this caused by the persuit of the allmighty dollar for some.
The Enbridge Northern Gateway project will and is facing a very large public opposition, but will that be enough, since Mr Harpers goverment is showing total support for this project . Once again the money talks rather than the will of the people. People concerned about having to face the same situation that yourself and so many more find themselves in.
I wish you and all affected by the Kalamazoo pipeline spill, good health, a light at the end of the tunnel, and may your lifestyle be returned to its previous level of enjoyment.

Cheers ric
Michelle From Michigan
Comment by Leon Dumstrey-SooS on 19th November 2011
Dear Naighbour, with all due respect to your concern in oil spill here(in my opinion at this time is speculative) I am surprised at your unballanced
approach to the subject:
Recently Obamas Government stoped drilling in Gulf. Some Rigs from there moved to Brasil, which is developing of shore oil. Later Obama and his Delegation visited Brasil and gave Brasil govt . IO billion dollars for "ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT"
Would that include OIL??

News rom CUBA: Chinese made deal with CUBA to DRILL between CUBA and US-60 miles from US Coast..... !!
???????

I do not hear YOU or any OPONENTS here protesting in solidarity or otherwise?


Thank you Michelle!
Comment by Chery on 19th November 2011
Thank you for sharing your first hand experiences. I am sorry for what you and your neighbours have had to go through.

I will be going out to vote in a little while and will be voting for the candidates who have come out against the oil port. Just them, no others.

While this may seem wrong to some people, I feel that Enbridge is the biggest threat to our great community and that we need a mayor and council who will send a resounding NO to Enbridge.

Kitimat is a wonderful community to live in, I was born and raised here and my husband and I plan to stay now that he is retired. My hope for the future of Kitimat is that we get some good, clean industry to locate here. One that will train and employ our kids right out of school - not ones that employ their own people from other provinces or countries.

We are fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the world, lets keep it that way!

I wish all of the candidates good luck and want to say thank you for putting your names forward and running for council.