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Environment & Climate Change

Enbridge pays $3.7 million fine to feds for 2010 Michigan oil spill

Great blue heron covered in oil from the 2010 Enbridge oil spill near Marshall, Michigan.
State of Michigan
Great blue heron covered in oil from Enbridge oil spill near Kalamazoo, Michigan

The U.S. Department of Transportation has closed its pollution case against the owner of a pipeline that ruptured in 2010, spewing oil into the Kalamazoo River.

Federal regulators say Enbridge paid a $3.7 million fine to the U.S. Department of Transportation Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) last month.

The company is responsible for the largest inland, freshwater oil spill in U.S. history.

The EPA estimates more than 1 million gallons of thick, tar sands oil was released into Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.

In its July report, PHMSA cited Enbridge for 24 violations of pipeline regulations.

The report claims Enbridge employees in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada ignored numerous alarms and ended up increasing pressure in a pipeline that was ruptured.

Company officials learned of the oil spill a day after it happened. They were notified by a local natural gas company employee. The employee was in the area responding to odor complaints. The odors were coming from the oil spill.

So Enbridge has paid a fine, but the clean-up continues.

Steve Carmody is working on this story today for Michigan Radio, he'll have more for us later.

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