Enbridge to pay $177 million for US oil pipeline spills
Canadian pipeline giant Enbridge Inc. has agreed to pay $177 million to settle claims stemming from two major oil spills in the United States in 2010, US authorities announced Wednesday.
The amount includes civil penalties of $62 million and a commitment to spend at least $110 million on spill-prevention measures and operational improvements for around 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) of oil pipeline in the Great Lakes region.
The deal with the Department of Justice and the Environmental Protection Agency will resolve claims from the spills which fouled waters with more than 26,000 barrels of heavy crude in Marshall, Michigan, and Romeoville, Illinois.
In the larger of the two incidents, Enbridge took 17 hours to begin taking action after one of its pipelines ruptured, leaking crude into a waterway that flows into Lake Michigan, the department said.
Enbridge, which delivers 1.7 million barrels of oil a day from Canada to the US through its Lakehead pipeline network, has already spent more than $1 billion on its own cleanup operations and as payments to reimburse local spending on cleanup work, the Justice Department noted.
In a statement, Enbridge president and chief executive Al Monaco said the company accepted responsibility for the spills "from the beginning."
"No incident is acceptable to us and our safety culture challenges us to continually strive for our goal of zero incidents," he said.
The 2010 spills were cited in the campaign by environmental groups to block Enbridge rival TransCanada from building the Keystone XL pipeline to carry heavy crude from Canada's oil sands region into the United States.
After a long fight, last year US President Barack Obama decided to block the Keystone pipeline project on grounds it would hinder the fight against climate change.
© 2016 AFP