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Michigan Oil Spill: Oil Halfway To Lake Michigan, Mayor Daley Responds

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Oil from a pipeline spill in Michigan early this week has been on the move through area waterways in recent days--and some fear that it could enter Lake Michigan.

The trouble began about 9 p.m. Sunday, when an oil pipeline owned by Enbridge Liquids Pipelines sprung a leak in Marshall Township. The pipeline was shut down--but not before it leaked an estimated one million gallons of oil that began flowing down the Kalamazoo River.

The oil is now about 80 miles from Lake Michigan and moving toward the lake, the Chicago Tribune reports. During a Thursday press conference, Mayor Daley said the oil spill threatens the Midwest's drinking water. The Tribune reports:

Mayor Richard Daley today went on the offensive in his battle with Michigan, saying a Kalamazoo River oil spill trumps Asian carp when it comes to threats to Lake Michigan.

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Daley said Michigan officials have been quick to take legal action against Illinois in a bid to stop Asian carp from reaching Lake Michigan, so they should be especially keen to get to the bottom of what he said is a much more serious threat to the lake.

Michigan is taking the spill very seriously, and U.S. Rep. Mark Schauer called the spill the "largest oil spill in the history of the Midwest."

He also introduced legislation Thursday to improve response times to pipeline disasters, according to the Detroit Free Press. The Michigan spill was not reported until Monday morning, even though it was noticed Sunday night. The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the cause of the leak.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm has publicly criticized both the EPA and Enbridge Inc., calling their cleanup effort "wholly inadequate," the Kalamazoo Gazette reports.

While Michigan struggles with containing and cleaning up the oil spill (Click here for PHOTOS), Chicago's Mayor Daley made the issue personal Thursday. The city has been in a battle with Michigan for months over Asian Carp. Michigan wants Chicago to close its operating locks in the Chicago River, claiming that gates and other infrastructure will allow the invasive species to enter Lake Michigan.

Industries that rely on shipping say closing the locks would injure the regional economy.

"Oil is worse than carp," Daley said Thursday. "Michigan better do something about the investigation, the criminal and civil investigation. Who's paying for it, and who had the oil spill in the Kalamazoo River, because it's flowing into Lake Michigan."

The Tribune reports that Daley's discussion of the spill was not prompted by reporters, who attended a budget meeting for city colleges.

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