Enbridge Pays Another|$4 Million for Spill

     KALAMAZOO, Mich. (CN) – After paying $75 million for one of the largest inland oil spills in U.S. history, Enbridge Energy will pay another $4 million under a consent decree filed Monday.
     The United States, Michigan and two bands of Pottawotami Indians filed the decree in Federal Court to resolve claims for damages to natural resources.
     An Enbridge pipeline ruptured in July 2010, dumping more than 800,000 gallons of heavy crude Canadian oil, into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River and Talmadge Creek.
     The spill displaced families, closed off 30 miles of riverfront property and devastated wildlife.
     After 5 years of legal wrangling and a $75 million state settlement, trustees proposed a plan to compensate the public and restore nature.
     The Department of Justice said Monday that the proposed settlement “will go a long way toward correcting the injuries to injured natural resources along the Kalamazoo River.”
     If accepted by a federal judge, the plan will take these steps:
     – Replace undersized culverts, remove obstacles to water flow and increase floodplain capacity in two tributaries to the Kalamazoo River;
     – Control Eurasian water milfoil and other invasive species in the Fort Custer State Recreation Area to improve habitat for warm water fisheries;
     – Restore 175 acres of oak savanna uplands in Fort Custer State Recreation Area;
     – Track and protect turtle reproduction in the affected area of the Kalamazoo River;
     – Restore wild rice beds along the Kalamazoo River;
     – Document the historic use and knowledge of natural resources by the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of the Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe) and the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of the Potawatomi, to guide restoration and stewardship.
     In addition to the new projects, the settlement incorporates elements of the state’s settlement with Enbridge:
     – Restore and monitor the 320 acres of wetlands affected by the spill and response;
     – Permanently restore, create or protect at least 300 additional acres of wetland habitat to compensate for lost wetlands;
     – Evaluate stream function in restored areas of Talmadge Creek and perform additional actions as needed;
     – Monitor and restore areas trashed by large woody debris;
     – Help Michigan pay to monitor fish and the health of stream bottoms along Talmadge Creek and the Kalamazoo River.
     The Department of Justice said the proposed settlement will help restore “aquatic organisms, fish, reptile, mammals and birds” and improve “public access and use of the Kalamazoo River for recreational, educational and cultural purposes.”
     State, federal and tribal trustees seek public comment on a draft Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan/Environmental Assessment.
     It is available for public review comment at this link .
     Here is a link to the consent decree .

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