Lawsuit Filed Over Romeoville Oil Spill

Suit alleges state environmental violations by pipeline owner Enbridge Energy Partners

Thursday, Oct 7, 2010  |  Updated 3:50 PM CDT
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The Illinois attorney general and the Will County state's attorney filed an eight-count suit in Will County, alleging state environmental violations by pipeline owner Enbridge Energy Partners.

The Illinois attorney general and the Will County state's attorney filed an eight-count suit in Will County, alleging state environmental violations by pipeline owner Enbridge Energy Partners.

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The Illinois attorney general and the Will County state's attorney are suing a Canadian oil company over a pipeline leak that sent crude oil bubbling to the surface at a Chicago-area industrial park.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and State's Attorney James Glasgow filed the eight-count suit Thursday in Will County, which alleges state environmental violations by pipeline owner Enbridge Energy Partners.

The court has ordered Enbridge to inspect private wells, groundwater and water supply mains within half a mile of the leak.

"Enbridge must be held accountable for all of the environmental and public health impacts of this oil spill," Madigan said in a written statement.  "Through this suit, we will ensure that Enbridge fully assesses and cleans up any pollution from the oil so that the residents of this area are protected."

In his remarks, Glasgow referenced the catastrophic breach of a Hungarian factory's retention pond that has sent toxic red sludge toward the Danube River.

"We can't allow that to happen in the United States of America," he said.

The spill was discovered Sept. 9 in an industrial park in Romeoville.  Crude oil from Enbridge’s pipeline was leaking into a storm sewer catch basin and into a nearby unnamed creek. The water then flowed into a retention pond which ultimately flows into a tributary of the Des Plaines River.

Enbridge's responded to the lawsuit in a statement, saying:

    Enbridge has worked cooperatively with all of the regulatory authorities involved in responding to the incident on our Line 6A near Romeoville, Illinois since the very beginning. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued an order with a number of items that Enbridge was required to comply with, and we have successfully completed nearly all of the items and will soon finish the remainder. By filing this action, the Illinois Attorney General’s office is simply protecting the State’s  interests and insuring  that Enbridge will follow through with addressing any concerns that the State may have arising out of the Line 6A incident, in addition to those action items being addressed under the U.S. EPA  Order.

A hearing in the case has been set for Nov. 10.

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