The Dilbit Disaster

The Dilbit Disaster is something I have literally never heard of before reading this book. It’s surprising, considering how this article paints it as one of the worst oil spills to hit the U.S. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that it happened so close to the BP Oil spill, but again, I am very surprised that if there was new coverage of it, that it didn’t reach me. 

I really like the use of imagery in the book to describe the oil. It’s description as being “slick” and “oozing” which are such deliciously evil terms. It’s almost as if the bitumen is given a persona. I was very anxious while reading about what had happened. We get an account of the time that the oil spill occurred, from the evening it happened to the morning that someone finally figured out that this wasn’t just some bubble in the pipes. It was so frustrating to me that no one at Enbridge ever stopped to think that maybe they should be doing their jobs instead of handing it off to the next person. And it’s great that Enbridge offered to help out the residents in the area of the disaster, but again, hey, maybe they should have mentioned that this was no ordinary crude oil spill. It really makes you think about what safety procedures other oil companies may have, or lack thereof. At some point the oil was in danger of spilling into Lake Michigan, which is used as drinking water for millions of people, and still Enbridge kept silent. That’s so messed up! 

The article really opened my eyes to how ill prepared we are for problems that we cause. Sure there was a team of specialists in Marshall trying to help out, but they had no clue as to what they were dealing with or what the long term effects were. Something that has been running in the pipes near a city for years, and they had no idea what the risk would be if it were exposed to humans for an extended period of time. Recently, there’s been some talk of a Keystone XL pipeline being proposed to carry bitumen. Wheres before, I had no strong opinions on the matter, now I am fuming. I strongly oppose the idea of the risk of another Dilbit Disaster. If the long term effects are unknown, and the prevention methods aren’t working properly, why would anyone approve of this? Is money that much more important than the environment or other people’s lives? It’s sickening.

If I were to ask the authors one thing, it would be how they came up with the idea to cover this story. From what I understand, there really wasn’t any coverage on what happened in Marshall, Michigan, so how did they hear about it? I would also like to know if they did this article partly because of the proposed Keystone Xl pipeline. Was the motive to get people to be vocal about opposing it? And if so, did they think it worked? It did for me, but I am hesitant to say that many other people have read this.



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