KALAMAZOO, Mich. (CN) – A broken pipeline leaked more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the Kalamazoo River, killing wildlife and creating a toxic stench for 30 miles, Michigan residents claim in a federal class action.
The Enbridge Energy Co.’s 30-inch diameter Lakehead pipeline carried 8 million gallons of crude oil per day to Sarnia, Ontario, according to the complaint.
Nearby residents say the pipeline began to leak into Talmadge Creek, which flows into the Kalamazoo River, on July 25. Drinking water and air quality have been severely jeopardized, they claim, and some residents have been forced to leave their homes.
Residents say Enbridge has yet to disclose what caused the spill.
Local news agencies have reported that the Department of Transportation repeatedly warned Enbridge “to get its act together with regard to the safety of its Lakehead pipeline system,” the lawsuit states.
The class demands unspecified damages from Enbridge and its companies for trespass, nuisance, negligence and violations of the Michigan Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act.
Its members are represented by David Fink of The Miller Law Firm in Rochester, Mich.