BATTLE CREEK, Mich. — More than a dozen people expressed their disdain for Enbridge, Saturday afternoon outside Riverview Recreation.
They’re upset with how Enbridge handled the oil spill into Kalamazoo River, three years ago. It became the largest oil spill in Midwest history.
Jeff Heppler, owner of Riverview Recreation, has dealt with the company firsthand. He’s currently suing Enbridge. He said about a half mile of his business’s property runs along an affected part of the river.
“They’ve came back and told us ‘yes there’s some oil on the property but it’s not that bad, and it’ll go away someday,’ which doesn’t give us a lot of warm fuzzy feelings because that impacts the value of our property,” Heppler said.
The Enbridge aftermath and the debate over tar sands are only two reasons for the protest. Concerns over fracking in the state were also discussed.
“It’s not like we got to pump this stuff out yesterday or tomorrow, and once an aquifer is poisoned, it’s poisoned man. You’re done!” Steve Losher, with Michigan Land Air Water Defense said to a crowd of supporters.
Losher said his group formed in response to the state allowing the leasing of state parks, game and recreation lands for fracking.
“With literally no public input, the state leased last year, thousands upon thousands of acres in Barry County, the mineral rights, and Allegan County as well for probably oil and gas development,” he said.
Fracking and tar sands are two separate issues, but Losher said they’re really quite related.
“They represent the last gasp of the fossil fuel industry to extract every last drop of oil or every last cubic foot of natural gas out of the ground no matter what the cost, short term or long term,” Losher said.