May 23, 2014

Hundreds of Gallons of Oil Spill in Jackson


May 23, 2014
Contact: Marissa Luna,

Hundreds of Gallons of Oil Spill in Jackson
Underscores the need for stormwater infrastructure investments

JACKSON – Recently, 800 gallons of motor oil and hydraulic fluid spilled into the city of Jackson storm sewer system and some made its way into the Grand River. Local officials were alerted about the spill on Sunday night, and clean up efforts began on Monday. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency officials arrived on the scene on Wednesday, but neither local nor federal authorities know where the spill originated or if there is more oil harming other areas of the river. 

“Sunday's spill underscores the risks posed to vital waterways like our Grand River when we fail to make adequate investments in local stormwater infrastructure,” said Derek Dobies, vice mayor of Jackson. “Initiatives like Clean Jackson that focus on making crucial updates to our stormwater system will help our city better prepare for these types of incidents and protect the Grand River for future generations to enjoy.”

Just over a year ago, in April 2013, 300 to 500 gallons of oil leaked into the Grand River in Lansing due to an equipment malfunction at the Lansing Board of Water & Light.

“Unfortunately this isn’t the first time that oil has spilled into the Grand River,” said Nic Clark, Michigan director of Clean Water Action. “I agree with the Vice Mayor, we need to pursue an all of the above strategy to protect our water that includes investment in green infrastructure stormwater design, renewable energy, and pipeline safety.” 

In the past decade, there has been a substantial $27 million decrease in investment in the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality’s (MDEQ) general fund appropriations. Cuts to the MDEQ budget mean that communities like Jackson can’t make needed investments in infrastructure projects to control storm water runoff.

“Just last month Lt. Governor Brian Calley signed legislation giving more tax breaks to corporate oil,” said Mike Berkowitz, legislative and political director for the Sierra Club Michigan Chapter. “Rather than providing tax giveaways to oil companies while they pollute our water and make record profits, our elected leaders should be making greater investments in the MDEQ to ensure that the Grand River and our Great Lakes are protected from pollution.”


Clean Energy Now is a coalition of groups that supports policies that will move Michigan beyond coal power and toward greater use of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency as a way to protect the environment and build prosperity. Follow the campaign at