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U.S. authorities have fined Enbridge US$1.8 million for missing the deadlines for inspections on its pipeline network last year, as part of the Canadian company’s settlement with the U.S. government over the worst inland spill in the United States back in 2010.
Enbridge’s pipeline ruptured in 2010, spilling hundreds of gallons of heavy crude into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. The spill covered nearly a 40-mile stretch, leaving the river polluted for years. In the years that followed the spill, over 1.2 million gallons of oil were recovered from the river. Enbridge has since spent more than US$1 billion cleaning up after their Kalamazoo River pipeline fiasco.
In 2016, Enbridge and the U.S. government reached a US$177-million settlement under which the company would pay US$61 million in civil penalties for the spill in and around the Kalamazoo River, US$1 million for a spill in nearby Romeoville, Illinois that same year, US$110 million to improve its operations and prevent spills from its pipelines that are near the Great Lakes, and US$5.4 million in costs footed by the government in cleaning up the Michigan spill. As part of the deal, Enbridge will also be required to replace almost 300 miles of one of its pipelines in the area.
Under that settlement, Enbridge was also required to regularly inspect other pipelines of its Lakehead network that consists of a total of 2,000 miles of pipelines in seven states.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and a third-party monitor group have concluded, however, that Enbridge failed to meet the deadlines for inspections it carried out last year. Enbridge has argued that it didn’t violate the inspections timeframe because it wasn’t certain when the clock had started. Nevertheless, Enbridge agreed to pay the US$1.8-million fine to ensure it meets the terms of the settlement.
“To ensure focus on safe operation of the pipelines and to maintaining our commitments under the consent decree, we have agreed to pay a penalty to resolve the matter,” spokesman Michael Barnes said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
“We have reached agreement on the inspection schedule going forward,” he added.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.