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The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
oil covered goose in michigan A Canada goose covered in oil attempts to fly out of the Kalamazoo River in Marshall, Mich., Tuesday, July 27, 2010. (Photo: Jonathon Gruenke/Kalamazoo Gazette/AP Images)

Oil Spill in Michigan

Another environmental disaster strikes

By Charlie Kadado | August 2 , 2010

Residents of Michigan are learning that oil spills are not just restricted to giant oil and gas rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Marshall Township, a suburb of Battle Creek, Michigan, was recently shaken by a pipeline spill that has spewed more than 1 million gallons of oil onto a 25-mile stretch along and in the Kalamazoo River.

The first signs of oil were spotted Monday, July 26, on the Kalamazoo River after a pipeline owned by Enbridge, an oil energy company based in Alberta, Canada, began to leak. The 30-inch pipeline carries about 8 million gallons of crude oil daily from Griffith, Indiana, to Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. Shortly after the spill was first reported, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm declared a State of Emergency.

Clean-up crews got to work on Wednesday cleaning up the spill, which caused some 50 people to evacuate their homes. Oil coated animals are being rescued and cleaned.

"Once the animals are found, we have facilities established where we can clean the oil off of them and treat them for any sickness that they might have," Chris Simmons, the Vice Mayor of Battle Creek, told the Scholastic Kids Press Corps. "Once we get the river cleaned up, we would like to send them back into the water."

The clean-up process includes cleaning animals, the river, and even the air. Compounds from the oil turn into fumes. Wind can also spread the fumes, which are just as dangerous as the slimy residue that leaked out onto the land and into the water.

Efforts are also under way to keep the oil away from the nearby Great Lakes. Workers are using vacuum trucks to contain and clean the spill.

"We have to dig up the portions from the pipeline and figure out what caused the spill," Simmons said. "From there, we would like to inspect other portions of the pipeline to figure out how we can prevent future spills from happening."

The Michigan oil spill is just one of many spills happening around the world. A recent oil spill in China has caused the government there to work on fixing leaky pipelines. Oil spewed from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig into the Gulf of Mexico for more than 100 days this spring and summer. It has become the worse environmental disaster in U.S. history.

Even though Michigan may be more than 1,500 miles away from the Gulf Oil Spill, similarities exist between the two disasters. With both incidents, courageous volunteers have pitched in to help, cleaning oil from water, animals, and land.

"What is different is that the (spill) on the Gulf was sending out oil for quite a long period of time," Simons said. "They were unable to cap it for a long time. Our spill was much smaller with a pipeline and they were able to shut the pipeline down."

GULF OIL SPILL RECOVERY SPECIAL REPORT

Kid Reporters investigate how the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is being cleaned up and how the spill has impacted the people, animals, and environment of the Gulf coast. Their reports -- along with other useful resources -- can be found in the Gulf Oil Spill Recovery Special Report.

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