Battle Creek, MI – Earlier this year on June 24, Kalamazoo resident and activist Chris Wahmhoff skateboarded into a section of Enbridge’s Line 6B pipeline as part of a protest in response to the worst inland oil spill in U.S. history. Ten hours later, Wahmhoff came out of the pipeline and was arrested. Wahmhoff faces a felony charge of resisting and obstructing a police officer. If convicted, Wahmhoff could be sentenced up to two years in prison. Wahmhoff’s pre-trial hearing takes place Friday at 10 a.m. at the Calhoun County Court.
After his pre-trial hearing Friday morning, Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands (MI-CATS) will hold a press conference to raise awareness about chemical oil dispersants found in the Kalamazoo River.
According to a MICATS press advisory, “Scientists and residents are questioning how chemicals shockingly similar to those used in the BP Deepwater Horizon gulf oil spill, and Exxon Valdez tanker spill disasters, would end up in the Kalamazoo River from Marshall, Michigan to more than 40 miles downriver.”
In the aftermath of the 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill, Enbridge was fined for each gallon of oil recovered. Both Enbridge and the EPA have denied that any dispersants were used. However, MICATS claims that since August, samples collected from the Kalamazoo River have been analyzed and found to contain chemical signatures similar to Corexit 9527, Corexit 9727A, and Corexit 9500. Corexit 9527, 9727A, 9500 are ingredients found in a group of chemical oil dispersants marketed as Corexit.
As Senior Policy Analyst at the EPA, Hugh Kaufman disclosed the effects of Corexit to be worse than an oil spill itself.
Corexit was used in the BP oil spill and according to MICATS, it “has had carcinogenic, respiratory, and hemorrhaging effects on residents, clean-up workers, and wildlife”. The Huffington Post reports that there is a a growing body of evidence that supports this.
According to MICATS, Calhoun County residents are experiencing these same toxicity issues. MICATS claims that “a group of local and national scientists and doctors are confirming our suspicions that chemicals dispersants or surfactants were used to hide the severity of the 2010 tar sands oil spill.”
MICATS is questioning the safety of the river and the water due to these chemicals for human and animal health and they are demanding a health study contrary to Michigan Department of Community Health’s and Calhoun County Health Officials and Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
MICATS Activist Jessica Clark, of Kalamazoo said, “The MICATS has been taking strong action against tar sands infrastructure because these pipelines inevitably spill and companies like Enbride are sloppy in their response and are endangering human and wildlife communities.”
The MICATS press conference is expected to be held at S River Rd, Battle Creek, MI 49014 after Wahmhoff’s pre-trial hearing followed by a noon question and answer session with scientists & activists at 4785 Beckley Rd, Battle Creek, MI 49015.