Enbridge TV commercial sparks controversy on the Kalamazoo River

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BATTLE CREEK, Mich. – The latest commercial from Enbridge has brought out polarized views from residents.

The commercial played on the four year anniversary of the Kalamazoo River Enbridge oil spill, and according to Enbridge, the Kalamazoo River is “restored.” Many residents beg to differ. They told FOX 17 that the river is anything but that, and that wildlife is sparse.

Greg Adams lives 34 miles from the site of the 2010 Enbridge oil spill. As he picked up several bottles he removed from the river Friday, he said he grew up along the Kalamazoo River.

"There used to be a beautiful campground called Shady Bend,” said Adams. “I spent days growing up there when I was a kid, I took my kid there. That place is still closed down due to Enbridge."

Yet the recent television commercial from Enbridge shows how an idyllic Kalamazoo River restored, including its turtles and other wildlife. Residents like Adams disagree.

"I'm just not happy with the glorified commercial saying that they've got everything under control and the river's back to magnificent and better than it was: that's not true,” said Adams.

According to Enbridge Spokesperson Jason Manshum the clean-up operations are on schedule and set to finish by late summer. As for the condition of the wildlife, Manshum said Enbridge rehabilitated 6,000 animals after the oil spill, including mostly turtles, and 98-percent survived.

“Over the course of the three or four years that we've been in the river, we have re-seen or recaptured almost half of all of those turtles, and they're all growing, they're thriving, they're healthy,” said Manshum.

FOX 17 cameras spotted five turtles on the Kalamazoo River Friday afternoon at Historic Bridge Park, but nearby Battle Creek resident Jeff Okon said that was “luck.”

“It's not so much that the wildlife is here and trying to repopulate, it's just not here,” said Okon.

Some residents said they can see the positives from the oil spill: such as the homes that sat on the market for years, and now are sold.

"We made a commitment to make sure that we did our best to get this river to a healthy condition, in as good of condition or better than it was before; I think we have made that commitment,” said Manshum. “But again we're not done."

Others like Okon and Adams said the end of restoration is nowhere in sight.

"All the places we're hearing oil may be covered up and what not, just get to it, get it done, make it right, and give us back what is ours,” said Okon.

Manshum said Enbridge will continue to monitor the Kalamazoo River and its sediments in the future.

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  • Betty Bishop

    Maybe they should talk to the former owner of Shady Bend and get the right and true side of the river cleanup story.

  • Whitey

    Just saw the Enbridge commercial. The river is nowhere near what it was back when it happened. Shady Bend is closed and friends and family no longer have a place to get together and meet or run into when they are camping. Enbridge ruined the dream of a couple we all knew as Bud n Mona. Especially when they had just paid their mortgage off the year before this happened. Yeah they paid for the property but not the business or money they would now have been making. A good man died, a great lady lost her love and everybody lost a place where everyone knew everyone. We lost our Cheers campground. So thank you Enbridge keep up the bull$$$$. The people know we live here. Whitey

  • Diane LeBlanc

    I think that blue paddle is a Shady Bend paddle ;) I miss my life, my camping friends and family. I miss my job!! Hate that commercial, breaks my heart. Can’t even drive by what was once my families home and where we made our living. Had big plans and dreams….Enbridge, you destroyed more than you realize or could imagine. But, you never cared to hear that side of the story. We were the “only” business closed down and suffered. Couldn’t move it to a new location. Shady Bend was a beautiful piece of property, even flooded…LOL It was mine and I was so proud….22 years of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. Friendships, memories and great times. To ALL our campers….we didn’t have a choice :( Miss it everyday…….

  • Jason

    How can this commercial be allowed to air like this? Only those close to the river know the truth, but only those with lots of $$ can run ads with false claims of a job well done…

  • Lacy Newman

    I canoe down this river from Ft. Custer to River Oaks park a few times a month; have for years. I also have a biology degree from Michigan State University. River looks fine, looks like a bunch of people who will do anything to try and get Embridge to buy them out for too much money. The guy in the video lives 34 miles from the spill…really? Couldn’t find anyone closer? You can all leave your hateful comments, I know they will follow, but I needed to say what MANY MANY others are thinking :)

    • John Bolenbaugh

      Lacy I am sorry to tell you that your education that you paid for wasnt worth its money because you have no clue what your talking about. People died, kids are sick, people had comas and seizures after the spill, several now have leukemia. I proved over 50 times that enbridge lied . About how toxic the chemicals were, about the evacuations, about the symptoms, and those people you refer to that are complaining didnt get enough money from enbridge to pay for one hospital bill. Many many others are just like you and are uneducated. There are parts of the river that the bottoms are still caked with tar sand oil. Fish have tumors and scales full of oil and you think it is ok for kids to swim in there when i can fill my glove up with oil. Sure it looks good in a canoe. The surface looks great. But any one with a degree should learn some facts before you make your self look stupid again. HELPPA.org for the real truth from someone that works in the industry and that has over 8,000 hour on the river in the last 4 years. And I do it for free. P.S. if it wasnt for me turning Enbridge in they would have said it was clean in 2010. My facts have cost them over $500,000,000 more in extra clean up cost. Remember Enbridge said it was 100% clean in 2012 again I proved they lied. 2 years later they are still cleaning tens of thousands of gallons of toxic oil. Do me a favor I will take you out and get a glass of Kalamazoo river water and ask you to drink it. i bet you dont.

  • Three Monkeys

    Yes, just viewed this commercial. Running during a pres-season Packer game on a Green Bay, WI station (Channel 3). I knew it was all lies and shame on Enbridge for peddling this garbage. Very little talk, even in the liberal media about the Enbridge route proposed to cut across Minnesota. Overe many lakes, streams, rivers on it’s way to Superior.

  • me

    if its so clean drink the water Enbridge,is there fish in the river yet,did’nt Enbridge have a spill in there back yard this spring and not report it????????

  • courtney

    John Bolenbaugh has his lawsuit against Enbridge starting Nov. 25, 2014. John wont except any Enbridge settlement $ offered. Go to helppa.org to show your support.