On July 26, 2010, the Enbridge Energy oil pipeline running through Marshall, MI ruptured and spilled over 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil into the Kalamazoo River. The spill was the costliest in-land oil spill in U.S. history, and the river is still not clean. As if that wasn't enough, Enbridge knew about cracks in the pipeline since 2005, five years before the spill.
And if you've you've been reading the news lately, you'd know that on July 27 of this year another Enbridge pipeline, this time in Wisconsin, also ruptured, this time spilling about 53,000 gallons of oil into a field.
Depending on who you are (or your proximity to the Kalamazoo River system), Enbridge Energy should either be hightailing it out of the state, or bending over backwards to fix their mistakes (and their pipelines) and earn back our trust.
But they have been.
Enbridge has overstayed its welcome in Michigan. There should be no talk of extending or expanding any pipelines until they fix the ones that are already broken - including the ancient one running through the Straits of Mackinac whose structural integrity is already damaged and could be leaking tar sands oil into the Great Lakes as we speak.
We need our elected officials to step up to the plate and acknowledge that Enbridge's incompetence and disregard for safety are serious environmental, economic, and health concerns, and that Enbridge's bullying tactics across the state are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
8th District Representative Mike Rogers has been completely silent on the issue of Enbridge - even during the aftermath of the 2010 spill. Mike's relationship with Big Oil has always been uncomfortably cozy for my taste (among other things, he is a vocal proponent of building the Keystone Pipeline, essentially a larger version of the Enbridge pipeline running through Marshall, MI), but his relationship with Enbridge would make anyone do a double-take. In 2008, Mike accepted a $5,000 campaign donation from former Representative-turned-Enbridge lobbyist Bud Cramer. Hush money perhaps?
The people of this district need a voice in Congress. They need a Representative who stands up for them, not for Enbridge or TransCanada or BP.
It's time for a change in Michigan's 8th District.