The Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources recently chose me for a field trip to explore water quality issues in the wake of a tar-sand oil spill, and I plan to share coverage with National Driller readers.

The Institutes for Journalism & Natural Resources recently picked your humble editor for a reporting expedition to the Kalamazoo, Mich., area to tour the site of the Talmadge Creek oil spill. The July 2010 spill sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of heavy, tar-sand oil into the creek, which feeds the Kalamazoo River. Almost three years later, the area is still undergoing clean-up efforts.
I'll use the early May trip to take a look at the spill's effects on surface water and groundwater. A report released in February by the Michigan Department of Community Health summed up periodic testing of 168 nearby water wells, and concluded "no oil-related organic chemicals were found in people’s water." But, of course, periodic testing is ongoing.
I'm not slamming the oil folks, here. I think water quality is important to people, whether they're tapping residential wells in rural counties or exploring tar sands in Canada. Many of us have sons and daughters, and couldn't stand the thought of leaving the Earth of them in worse shape than we found it. But, I acknowledge that a tension between consumers' need for energy and the need for companies to provide those resources in the safest manner possible. That'll be the crux of coverage developed on this trip. I plan to post early reporting here on the website, and follow up with more in the June issue.
If you have questions, thoughts or ideas for fleshing out stories along those lines, send me an email at I always want to know what readers want to read. I work for you.
That's all for now. Stay safe out there, drillers.