Kalamazoo River Oil Spill (2015)

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Michigan AG pursued enforcement action against Enbridge Energy in response to their actions which caused over 1 million gallons of heavy crude oil to spill into the Kalamazoo River.

Citation: Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Bill Schuette v. Enbridge Energy (2015)

Topics: Water Pollution, Natural Resources, Energy

Type of action: Lawsuit v. Private Actor

States involved: Michigan

Summary: On July 25, 2010, an oil pipeline ruptured over a wetland near Marshall, Michigan, allowing over 1 million gallons of heavy crude oil to flow into Talmadge Creek, a tributary of the Kalamazoo River. It was the largest land-based oil spill in United States history. The spill cost the company that operates the pipeline, Enbridge Energy, over $1.2 billion to clean up. The high costs were driven in part by the composition of the oil, which causes it to initially float on top of water but eventually sink to the bottom.

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette and the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality brought suit against Enbridge Energy for cleanup costs and restoration of the affected area. The suit culminated in a settlement agreement whereby Enbridge Energy agreed to pay $75 million to the state for various clean up and restoration projects.

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