While not nearly as large as the BP oil spill, an oil leak near Battle Creek, Michigan, has already left residents worried about the economic and ecological impact of the spill. An Enbridge Energy Partners pipeline malfunctioned, causing about 840,000 gallons of oil to leak into the Kalamazoo River. Once the oil spill was detected, pumps were shut off and authorities moved quickly in an attempt to contain the damage. Unfortunately, it appears that oil has already spread beyond the containment booms. Area police departments have alerted residents that the scent of oil will pervade the area, and people have been advised to avoid contact with river water at this time.

Although it is still early, it appears that Enbridge Energy Partners is accepting full responsibility for the leak. Perhaps they learned from BP‘s public relations fiasco. Large corporations should be held accountable for their mistakes, just as ordinary people are. Like the states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, Michigan is largely dependent upon water-based tourism and recreation. Hopefully the response to this oil spill will be rapid and complete. The residents of Southwest Michigan deserve no less.