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Federal government announces settlement with Enbridge over oil spill

People are back enjoying the Kalamazoo River. This spot in Marshall is just down river from where the spill occurred.
Mark Brush
Michigan Radio

Enbridge Energy will pay nearly $4 million in a settlement with the federal government and tribal leaders. The agreement announced Monday is one of a number of legal settlements related to the company’s 2010 oil spill. 

Five years ago, an underground pipeline carrying heavy crude oil burst in mid-Michigan, creating one of the biggest inland oil spills in U.S. history. 

More than a million gallons has been recovered so far.

This settlement is over damages done to natural resources. It will pay for restoration projects to improve wildlife habitat and public access to the Kalamazoo River. It’s connected to a larger, $75 million settlement with the state of Michigan that was announced last month.

Another settlement is still pending with the Environmental Protection Agency.

Enbridge expects the spill will cost the company $1.2 billion in total.

“Working together, the natural resource trustees are using the settlements in tandem to develop a big-picture, comprehensive plan to restore natural resources,” said Deputy Regional Director Charlie Wooley for the Midwest Region of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in a written statement. “This cooperative approach will enhance our ability to return to the public the natural resources lost due to the spill.”

Trustees are looking for public inputon the draft plan.

“We’re pleased everyone worked together for a good outcome,” said Michael Barnes, a company spokesman.

“We’ve always said that we’re committed to restoring the Kalamazoo River and the Talmadge Creek so that it can be enjoyed all the people of Michigan and visitors to the state,” Barnes said. 

Lindsey Smith is a Peabody Award-winning journalist currently leading the station's Amplify Team. She previously served as Michigan Public's Morning News Editor, Investigative Reporter and West Michigan Reporter.
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