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The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of (Kindle Single) [Kindle Edition]

Elizabeth McGowan , Lisa Song , David Hasemyer , Susan White , Catherine Mann
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)

Kindle Price: $2.99

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Book Description

InsideClimate News won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in national reporting for this four-part narrative and six follow-up reports into an oil spill most Americans have never heard of. More than 1 million gallons of oil spilled into the Kalamazoo River in July 2010, triggering the most expensive cleanup in U.S. history -- more than 3/4 of a billion dollars -- and after almost two years the cleanup still isn’t finished. Why not? Because the underground pipeline that ruptured was carrying diluted bitumen, or dilbit, the dirtiest, stickiest oil used today. It’s the same kind of oil that the controversial Keystone XL pipeline could someday carry across the nation’s largest drinking water aquifer. Written as a narrative, this page-turner takes an inside look at what happened to two families, a community, unprepared agencies and an inept company during an environmental disaster involving a new kind of oil few people know much about.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1170 KB
  • Print Length: 164 pages
  • Publisher: InsideClimate News (June 24, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008EKH5F6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #181,517 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oil madness: the shape of things to come June 25, 2012
Verified Purchase
In our obsession to wring every last drop of oil from the earth -- whatever the costs -- we've polluted the air, fouled the ocean, sacrificed workers' lives, and altered the climate. If the Keystone XL pipeline is built, that list of horribles will include dilbit disasters. I had never heard the word "dilbit" before reading this short but intense and moving chronicle of a 2010 incident in which a pipeline carrying tar sands from Canada burst in Michigan. More than one million gallons of "diluted bitumen," or "dilbit" as it's know in the trade, poured into the Kalamazoo River. The authors have done a wonderful job of showing how the event affected not just the river and surrounding lands, but the people and communities nearby. Scary stuff, made even scarier when you consider that the mega-project, the Keystone XL, will supersize disasters like the one recounted in this book.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story June 25, 2012
By Dave
This is an amazing story of North America's biggest dilbit pipeline spill and how it affected the lives of people living in a tightknit town in Southwestern Michigan.

It's a story about a flawed response that endangered people, exposed the shortcoming of pipeline regulations and showed how ill-prepared we are to deal with this type of spill.

The story makes you smell the horrendous smell of the oily sludge that covered front yards and fouled creeks and rivers. It makes you feel the fright and confusion of people living along Talmadge Creek whose lives were forever changed by that ruptured pipeline.

It makes you angry at the initial Enbridge response-- from calling their public relations people before alerting authorities, to downplaying the severity of the spill. It exposes just how unprepared everyone was, from small town officials to federal regulators to Enbridge itself.

It raises the question of "how could this happen?" And more importantly makes you wonder if it can happen again.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Oil Makes a big mess June 25, 2012
As Stephen Colbert explained, the news media can only overplay one story at a time. The corollary is that when one story dominates the news, others are underplayed, lost in the media scramble. That's what happened in 2010 when a Michigan pipeline burst and spilled a million gallons of a particularly stinky, sticky form of oil -- called "dilbit" -- in the Kalamazoo River. But that spill didn't get much attention at the time, because the nation was focused on the massive BP spill that had recently caused a catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico.

But the dilbit cleanup is still going on, and a story that big can't stay a secret forever. So, thanks to, the story is out at last in this new Kindle book, "The Dilbit Disaster: Inside the Biggest Oil Spill You've Never Heard Of." A team of reporters and editors spent months on the story, and the result is a fascinating, horrifying tale of people driven from their homes and businesses, blackened rivers and creeks, of corporate secrecy just when openness was most needed, and of heroic efforts to rid the environment of a pestilence that simply refuses to go away.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and understandable by the layman April 25, 2013
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Well written, clear and well referenced work on Bitumen. Excellent read and easily understood. Recommend for anyone interest in an objective overview of this new oil product and its potential affect on the environment.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reporting, amazing corporate irresponsibility April 30, 2013
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A really enlightening read as I had heard of the disaster but didn't know anything of the after effects and the clean up. The authors do an excellent job of reporting the facts but still asking the hard questions to the oil companies and the EPA about how they botched so much of the Public-Private communication and the perceived corporate readiness to tackle an event like this. The book is a must read for an informed debate about further pipeline expansion to carry Alberta tar sands bitumen.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This book should be required reading for everyone who lives along the proposed route of the Keystone XL Pipeline as well as all pipelines carrying tar sands oil. This story shows the true nature of Enbridge; their poor safety record, their unwillingness to upgrade and repair existing pipelines in a timely manner, their lack of honesty and their belief that money will make up for any disaster. I hope there will be a follow up in a year or more, one that follows the affected families to see what health problems are beginning to show up as well as an analysis on the health of the affected waterways.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
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We in North Bay take our water from a pristine water source that 3 pipelines traverse. There have been 2 major explosions with natural gas with no lasting effect because on release the natural gas goes into the air. Back a few months ago there was an awful explosion of a freight train in Lac Megantic, Quebec with 47 deaths and an unbelievable fire storm! Bitumen doesn't burn that well and doesn't sink into the ground that well because it is a little thicker than peanut butter. To get bitumen into tankers or a pipeline it is now bieng diluted with natural gas distillates which is called DILBIT a really potential hazard.

On a spill this brew allows the bitumen to flow covering everything in it's path for a while (the distillates start to leave the brew soon after exposure and that is complete in about 10 days leaving the bitumen spread out and in the ground and water - a nightmare to clean up.) That is what happened in this instance.
This story covers covers a spill that occurred in Marshall Michigan on July 25, 2012. It was done in three parts, two years later, with each part representing a day of the spill. This was done so that it could be thoroughly researched and in the Kindle rendition this can be verified.

Nobody not the pipeline company, government (federal, state and municipal) officials knew anything about about DILBIT even that it was being carried in the pipeline but particularly how to deal with it - the result was and is a disaster (after 3 years it is still being cleaned up.) By the way, if that spill site hadn't occurred underwater it probably would have caused a firestorm like Lac Magentic and be much more devastating!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening portrayal of where the oil industry is taking us all.
Everyone should read this. Think about solar power and try to see Canada before the beauty of nature is plowed beneath an earth ripper.
Published 1 day ago by disturbed
5.0 out of 5 stars Great reporting on crucial topic
Book is a page-turner. You cannot believe that one thing piles upon another to make the spill worse and worse. The reporting is very thorough. Read more
Published 1 month ago by George
5.0 out of 5 stars why tar sands extract is different
This is an excellent easy to read review of the Kalamazoo spill and why dilbit is different than crude oil. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Wendy Winger
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book a must read.
I purchased the book because of class it was required. Book is great and really makes you want to keep reading. I'm not much of a daily reader but I did finish this book in 3 days. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jose Gonzalez
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding!
5 star book showing the reality of tar sands oil and the game of russian roulette played by Canadian and American oil companies, at the expense of public and environmental... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Benjamin M. Wagner
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 out of 5 would do again
Book was pretty legit. Dilbit is my new favorite word and I might make it the middle name of my future child.
Published 7 months ago by Isaac
2.0 out of 5 stars If all the stories are like this one, it's no wonder you've never...
Very disappointing book. I went into it understanding that it was likely to be a one-sided story and I'm fine with that - it's a story that needs telling. But not like this! Read more
Published 7 months ago by David Swann
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning Revelations
McGowan et al produced a work that is not just a thorough investigation of this disaster but a compilation of published articles since the incident occurred. Read more
Published 7 months ago by Michael F. Knight
4.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and interesting
This shed a lot of light on the issue of tar sands and the different quality of the oil that is sent through the pipelines. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Diana V. DeVito
4.0 out of 5 stars Required reading
Everyone in the Midwest should read this and call their legislators before it's to late.
Very much information on what happened in Michigan that could also happen in Nebraska.
Published 9 months ago by T-Bow
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