Enbridge to pay $4 million over 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill in Michigan

Enbridge to pay $4 million over 2010 Kalamazoo oil spill in Michigan

In late July 2010, one of the company’s underground pipelines in southwestern Michigan ruptured, spilling 840,000 gallons of heavy crude oil that eventually contaminated almost 50 km. of the Kalamazoo river. (Image: Screenshot via YouTube)

Enbridge (TSX, NYSE:ENB), Canada’s largest pipeline company, will have to pay about US$4 million to complete natural resource restoration projects as part of a suggested settlement proposed Monday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

In late July 2010, one of the company’s underground pipelines in southwestern Michigan ruptured, spilling 840,000 gallons of heavy crude oil that eventually contaminated almost 50 km. of the Kalamazoo river.

“This settlement will restore natural resources affected by the 2010 spill — one of the largest inland spills in our history — and compensates the public for natural resource losses resulting from the spill,” said in a statement Assistant Attorney General John C. Cruden.

Last month, the pipeline company reached an agreement with the state of Michigan to pay US$75 million over the incident. That pact will see Enbridge restoring or creating 300 acres of wetlands, valued at $30 million. Wetlands are considered to be crucial in a watershed, serving as nature's filter in absorbing and releasing water and providing habitat to fish and wildlife.

Those improvements are on top of Enbridge's costs directly related to the spill, which have been pegged at more than $1 billion.