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Oil leak called a threat to Lake Michigan

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Friday, July 30, 2010

MICHIGAN

Oil leak threatens Lake Michigan

Hundreds of thousands of gallons of oil that leaked into a Michigan river from a ruptured pipeline are heading downstream toward Lake Michigan, and the state's governor is warning of a "tragedy of historic proportions" should the oil get there.

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the leak dumped more than 1 million gallons of oil this week into the Kalamazoo River and a creek that flows into it. Enbridge, the company that owns the pipeline, has a smaller estimate -- 819,000 gallons.

The oil has traveled at least 35 miles downstream from where it leaked, passing through Battle Creek, and was headed toward Morrow Lake, a key point near a Superfund site upstream of Kalamazoo and about 80 miles from Lake Michigan.

Gov. Jennifer Granholm (D) has asked the federal government for more help, saying that resources being marshaled by the EPA and Enbridge were "wholly inadequate." The Calgary, Alberta-based company said Wednesday and Thursday that it was ramping up its efforts to contain and clean up the mess. Chief executive Patrick D. Daniel said the company had made "significant progress," though he had no update on a possible cause, cost or time frame for the cleanup.

-- Associated Press

FLORIDA

Divers urged to help control lionfish

Wildlife authorities in Florida are encouraging local divers to capture or kill lionfish at will, in an effort to try to eradicate the voracious invading species from state waters.

Lionfish are native to Indo-Pacific seas but have been rapidly expanding in Caribbean and Atlantic waters, where they have few natural predators. Federal researchers think it was introduced into Florida waters during Hurricane Andrew in 1992, when an aquarium broke and at least six fish spilled into Miami's Biscayne Bay.

Marine biologists in Florida say they are gobbling up native species, including members of the snapper and grouper families, and threatening the fauna of the state's famous coral reefs.

-- Reuters

More New Orleans officers face charges: Two New Orleans police officers were indicted Thursday on federal charges in the beating death of a 48-year-old man, part of a sprawling Justice Department probe that has led to charges against 18 of the city's officers. The July 30, 2005, death of Raymond Robair is the first in the probe to occur before Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005.

Death penalty for beheading of children: A south Texas jury on Thursday sentenced a man to death after convicting him of beheading his common-law wife's children in 2003. John Allen Rubio pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the deaths of three children under the age of 4. He had been convicted and condemned in 2003, but a state appeals court overturned the conviction in 2007.

Utah natural gas project approved: An energy company received federal approval Thursday to open one of Utah's biggest natural gas fields by agreeing to use new technology to drill under wild areas, instead of on top of them. The Bureau of Land Management's approval of Bill Barrett Corp.'s multibillion-dollar project reflects a deal the drilling company made with environmental groups to pull back from wild areas and limit well pads off the high rim of the Green River's Desolation Canyon. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar hailed the company's compromise and called the agreement historic. -- From news services


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