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Oil spill in Michigan stretches 56 kilometers along river

07-30-2010 11:00 BJT

CHICAGO, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The length of an oil spill along the Kalamazoo River in southern Michigan has more than doubled from previous estimates, local official said Wednesday.

An oil sheen has been detected on the surface of the major river roughly 35 miles (56 kilometers) downstream from the site south of Marshall where an underground oil pipe apparently ruptured on Monday.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm said late Wednesday that the sheen has been seen from the air near the dam at Lake Morrow -- an area Enbridge Energy Co. Inc. had hoped to protect. The governor harshly criticized the company.

The spill, first reported Monday, coated scores of birds and fish in oil, forced the evacuation of two homes and led about two dozen people to seek relocation. The strong stench of petroleum continued to waft through Battle Creek on Wednesday, officials said.

Investigators said it will take weeks to determine what caused the spill. The 30-inch pipeline is part of a network owned by Enbridge Energy Partners, a Calgary-based company that moves petroleum from the oil sands region of Canada to refineries in the Midwest.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it believes more than 1 million gallons (3.76 million liters) of oil may have leaked into the river -- 181,000 (680,560 liters) more than the company has estimated.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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