Kalamazoo River Oil Spill: Five Years Later, Presentation by Beth Wallace, September 30

Kalamazoo River Oil Spill: Five Years Later

In July of 2010, the worst oil spill on inland waters in U.S. history occurred on the Kalamazoo River near Marshall, MI. To mark this anniversary, Two Rivers Coalition (TRC) will host Beth Wallace speaking on “The Kalamazoo River Oil Spill: Five Years Later” on Wednesday, September 30. The event will be held at 7:00 PM at the Van Buren Conference Center at 490 S. Paw Paw Street in Lawrence, MI. The Conference Center is located one mile North of Exit 52 on I-94 and Lawrence is located approximately 20 miles west of Kalamazoo.

Beth Wallace, formerly of the National Wildlife Federation, will speak about the incident in which over 800,000 gallons of tar sands oil leaked from an Enbridge pipeline into the Kalamazoo River and which remains the largest inland oil spill in U.S. history. Her talk will address how the spill occurred, the lingering effects on the environment 5 years later, and whether Southwest Michigan remains at risk of similar pipeline disasters because of an inadequate regulatory framework.

”This is a timely and extremely important talk on an issue that concerns everyone, but especially residents of Michigan where several pipelines are located. Was the Enbridge spill 5 years ago just an aberration that we can now put behind us, or was it the proverbial canary in the mine warning us of hidden dangers in our pipeline system?” questions Kevin Haight, President of TRC, a non-profit environmental organization concerned with water quality issues in Southwest Michigan.

Beth Wallace works as an outreach consultant for Great Lakes pipeline safety issues and also writes and manages SURF Great Lakes, a journal which works to sustain, unite, restore and fortify Great Lakes protection. For six years, Beth worked for the Great Lakes Regional Center of the National Wildlife Federation where she was a lead organizer for initiatives that support and protect Great Lakes communities, natural resources and wildlife from fossil fuel extraction. 

Beth saw firsthand how this oil spill affected the communities where she had grown up. Since that time she has been one of the leading pipeline safety advocates in the region working to ensure proper response and accountability. Beth has testified before Congress and the National Academy of Sciences on the effects of spills on the environment, wildlife, economy, and local communities. In addition, Beth is a member of the Board of Directors for the Pipeline Safety Trust, a national organization that promotes pipeline safety through education and advocacy, increased access to information, and partnerships with residents, safety advocates, government, and industry, resulting in safer communities and a healthier environment. She holds a B.A. in Political Science and Environmental Studies from Western Michigan University. 

TRC is a non-profit citizen’s group working to protect the health of the Black River and Paw Paw River watersheds through conservation, education, and advocacy.  TRC gained its 501(c)3 status in May 2009 and has led and partnered on several water quality protection and improvement projects in Allegan, Berrien, Kalamazoo and Van Buren Counties.  For more information about the Two Rivers Coalition visit www.TwoRiversCoalition.org.