KALAMAZOO, Mich. — The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners supports closing a pipeline that spilled more than 843,000 gallons of heavy crude oil into the Kalamazoo River seven years ago.

The board voted 7-3 on Tuesday to pass a resolution opposing the Enbridge Inc.’s Line 5 pipeline, the Kalamazoo Gazette (http://bit.ly/2rqL8Od ) reported. The pipeline, built more than 60 years ago, is still operating through Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.

The pipeline was created to be a safer and more efficient way to transport crude oil, but the 2010 oil spill drastically changed the public’s perception of safety in the energy sector, Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum said.

Commissioners noted that activists and community organizations have been persistent in their opposition.

“It was a huge swing. It was all the people coming, meeting after meeting, that turned the tide,” Commissioner Michael Quinn said.

A copy of the resolution will be sent to Gov. Rick Snyder, Attorney General Bill Schuette and Kalamazoo County representatives in the state Legislature and Congress.

Commissioner Michael Seals said he encourages activists in favor of closing the pipeline to continue being involved in local water issues.

“This shows me what the community is capable of,” he said. “There’s a lot more risk in our neighborhoods.”

Kalamazoo County joins 15 other counties, 24 cities and 26 townships that also have passed resolutions to shut down the line. With nationwide protest movements focusing on halting the installation of new pipelines, Kalamazoo activists are making it a goal to rip out and reroute existing pipelines away from water sources.

The Michigan Pipeline Safety Advisory Board is expected to release two studies on risks from the pipeline in June.


Information from: Kalamazoo Gazette, http://www.mlive.com/kalamazoo