Updated July 22, 2016, at 11:00am
After multiple extensions for negotiating a fine for the 2010 Kalamazoo River disaster, the U.S. Department of Justice Environmental Protection Agency and Enbridge settled at $177 million, announced on Wednesday.
Under the settlement, Enbridge agreed to pay $62 million in fines for violating the Clean Water Act, which is the largest fine for a pipeline spill ever under that law, according to Bloomberg. The company will also spend $110 million in steps toward improving pipeline operations and to prevent future spills across its 2,000-mile span of pipelines near the Great Lakes. Enbridge is also required to replace nearly 300 miles of one of the lines, according to its deal with the EPA. Finally, Enbridge will pay $5.4 million to reimburse the government for cleanup costs.
“Financial accountability is very important. It is something that we take very seriously,” said US Attorney Patrick Miles. “We also want to make sure that we don’t have a recurrence of these types of events. So prevention, detection, and repair are also critical in these matters. And so that is something that this consent decree does and addresses, and my office is very pleased with this solution.”
Enbridge has already paid $57.8 million for reimbursements of cleanup costs for the spill, agreed to pay $75 million in settle claims pursued by the state of Michigan, and spent more than $800 million cleaning up the accident.
In 2010, Enbridge’s Line 6B failed and sent more than 20,000 barrels of oil into the Kalamazoo River as a result of the rupture. The accident is one of the largest inland spills in U.S. history. After 22 months of cleanup work, the Kalamazoo River reopened for recreational use.
The settlement agreement has a 30-day public comment period.