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Pipeline Break Causes Oil to Pollute Michigan River

An oil pipeline break has occurred in the northern U.S. state of Michigan, causing an estimated 19,500 barrels of crude to leak into a creek that flows into the Kalamazoo River.

The company operating the pipeline, Enbridge Energy Partners, says the break occurred Monday, forcing the shutdown of the pipeline pumps. The Houston-based company says the cause of the leak is under investigation. No injuries have been reported, although residents in the area have been warned about a strong odor from the spill.

Enbridge has offered an apology to the people affected by the leak. It says crews have been dispatched to the site and are deploying oil skimmers and absorbent booms on the creek and river to minimize the environmental impact. The company says fish and wildlife specialists are on the site to help rehabilitate affected animals.

Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm Tuesday activated the State Emergency Operations Center in response to the spill. She also said in a statement that the focus is on protecting Michigan citizens and the environment by providing any needed state resources to expediently address the situation.

Michigan Senator Carl Levin says his office has been in close contact with the relevant federal agencies to make sure those carrying out the cleanup have all the resources they need to complete the job as soon as possible.

The state's other senator, Debbie Stabenow, said on her website that public health officials are advising people to stay out of the water, avoid contact with oil and avoid prolonged exposure to fumes.

The pipeline carries oil from the midwestern state of Indiana into Ontario, Canada.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.