Dearborn company is focus of search
Officials seek clues to oil spill
June 19, 2002
BY DAN SHINE
DETROIT FREE PRESS
Federal and state officials investigating an April oil
spill in the Rouge and Detroit rivers are expected to
continue searching a Dearborn oil reclamation facility
today for clues to the spill's origin.
Officials from the FBI, Environmental Protection Agency,
U.S. Attorney's Office, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs
and the state Attorney General's Office spent Monday and
Tuesday executing a search warrant at Comprehensive Environmental
Solutions on Wyoming at Ford, an FBI spokeswoman said
Early in the investigation, oil was found in a sewer
line that runs along Wyoming.
The search warrant was sealed, but a person close to
the investigation said it likely included documents that
would detail how much oil the facility took in and how
much it shipped out. Samples of oil also likely would
be collected to see whether it matched oil taken from
the Rouge, which has been analyzed by scientists and given
a unique fingerprint.
In April, more than 60,000 gallons of used industrial
oil spilled into the Rouge and traveled about two miles
to the Detroit River. It then floated in several small
patches down the river into northern Lake Erie. About
27 miles of U.S. and Canadian shoreline were affected.
The Rouge was closed for several days while crews skimmed
the oil off the water and cleaned the shorelines. Cleanup
costs were more than $2 million.
EPA officials have said the April spill is the largest
in the Great Lakes in the last 12 years. In 1990, a tanker
exploded on the Saginaw River in Bay City, spilling at
least 10,000 gallons of gasoline, EPA officials said.
U.S. Rep. John Dingell, whose district includes Dearborn,
said in a statement late Tuesday that he heard from officials
that the investigation into the oil spill "is accelerating
and that search warrants have been executed."
"I am fully confident that investigators will identify
and prosecute the perpetrators of this environmental catastrophe,"