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Enbridge to pay $75M settlement in Kalamazoo River oil spill

Settlement invests millions for river improvements

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LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Enbridge Energy reached a settlement Wednesday over the July 2010 oil spill that sent more than 800,000 gallons of oil into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

The spill came from a pipeline owned and operated by Enbridge. The agreement will finalize cleanup and restoration requirements for areas affected by the spill.

"This is a huge win for Michigan's environment," said DEQ Director Dan Wyant. "We are pleased to announce this settlement, because the key provisions are projects to improve and restore the river corridor. This settlement will mean improved water quality, improved fish and wildlife habitat, and an improved experience for river users in the years to come."

The Enbridge spill impacted more than 38 miles of river and 4,435 acres of land near the river's shore.

"Michigan is the Great Lakes state and we must protect our precious natural resources now and for future generations," said Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette. "This settlement will help to restore affected waterways and wetlands, as well as provide improved access for families to enjoy the beauty of the Kalamazoo River."

Under the settlement, Enbridge will pay:

  • $30 million as estimated costs for Enbridge to restore or construct 300 acres of wetlands in the watershed for permanent protection.
  • $18 million spent by Enbridge to remove Ceresco Dam in Ceresco, Michigan and construct other improvements to the river in the previously impounded area. These changes will help restore the run of the river closer to its natural historical condition.
  • $10 million spent to construct and improve recreational and boating access sites for the public at five locations and provide an endowment for perpetual maintenance of the recreational/access sites. These sites include Saylor's Landing and Ceresco Green in Marshall Township as well as Angler's Bend, Paddler's Grove, and Historic Bridge Park in Emmet Township.
  • $5 million to be paid to the State by Enbridge for additional enhancement and restoration of the Kalamazoo River, to be paid within 30 days of the entry of the agreement.
  • $12 million paid in reimbursement of the State's costs in conducting and overseeing cleanup work, restoration and mitigation, and attorney's costs.
  • The restoration projects are in addition to completing cleanup work. Enbridge also has to finish cleaning up oil and oil-related contaminants from the release in the areas impacted by the spill and the recovery efforts.

    Enbridge will finish the cleanup within about five years and continue to pay the state's costs in overseeing the cleanup efforts.

    In order to meet state law requirements and assure that liability for the release is adequately resolved, in the impacted area, Enbridge must:

  • Continue to monitor and collect any sheen and submerged oil from the release in the Kalamazoo River.
  • Thoroughly evaluate and address any continued presence of Line 6B oil and oil-related contaminants in soil and groundwater.
  • Continue monitoring of affected wetlands and undertake restoration and treatment for invasive species consistent with approved work plans.
  • Investigate and address impacts to aquatic life within the River or adjacent wetlands.
  • Evaluate restoration actions to date within the affected area of Talmadge Creek and conduct additional activity as deemed necessary to restore stream habitat diversity.
  • Ensure recovery of aquatic vegetation and protection of riverbank areas susceptible to erosion through additional surveys and implementation of corrective actions as needed.
  • Replace woody habitat removed from the River during oil recovery efforts.
  • Provide funding for the state to conduct additional monitoring to assure that fish and macroinvertebrate communities are recovering and fish consumption advisories for oil-related contaminants remain in place as needed.