Six Years After Massive Spill, Enbridge Continues to Threaten the Great Lakes Region

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Six Years After Massive Spill, Enbridge Continues to Threaten the Great Lakes Region

Today we commemorate the day six years ago that an Enbridge pipeline sprung a leak, dumping over a million gallons of tar sands crude into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan.
 
Unfortunately, not only have over a billion dollars in cleanup efforts failed to fully restore the river and surrounding bodies of water, there has also been a troubling lack of consequences or accountability for Enbridge. Six years after the company perpetrated the most devastating onshore oil spill in U.S. history, Enbridge continues to freely expand its network of dangerous, dirty oil pipelines and threaten land, water, and Tribal and local communities across the Great Lakes region.
 
Last week, the Justice Department and EPA announced a draft settlement to fine Enbridge for the damage done by the 2010 Kalamazoo spill. Though this agreement is not yet final, there are serious concerns that the current version does little to deter Enbridge from continuing with business as usual. For one thing, the fine leveled against the company – much of which may be tax deductible – pales in comparison to historic nature of the spill.
 
And even worse, the settlement may end up actually handing Enbridge a victory on an unrelated pipeline project in another state. Part of the draft settlement calls for a replacement of the Line 3 pipeline – which runs through Minnesota – a plan that Enbridge has already proposed as a way to expand and reroute this unnecessary tar sands pipeline under the guise of maintenance.
 
“History has repeatedly proven that Enbridge cannot be trusted to ensure the safety of our communities, waterways, or environment. Its reckless actions six years ago led to the Kalamazoo spill and is a tragic reminder of the risks posed by dirty tar sands pipelines,” said Lena Moffitt, Dirty Fuels Campaign Director at the Sierra Club. “The science is clear that these pipelines are not in our national interest and are all risk, no reward for public health, safety, and the environment. It's evident that to protect our communities and our environment, we must end the expansion of tar sands and oil pipelines and keep fossil fuel in the ground.”
 
Evidence of Enbridge’s questionable dealings continues to pile up – from its attempts to avoid review of its Alberta Clipper expansion, to new revelations about the company using defective pipeline parts, and now this deal to fast track the Line 3 project. It has never been more clear that it would be reckless to allow Enbridge to continue to move forward with its plans to expand its tar sands pipeline system. It is critical that our leaders – from state-level public service commissioners up to the U.S. State Department – take action to stop Enbridge from further threatening our waterways and our communities.

The Sierra Club is the oldest and largest grassroots environmental organization in the United States. It was founded on May 28, 1892 in San Francisco, California by the well-known conservationist and preservationist John Muir, who became its first president. The Sierra Club has hundreds of thousands of members in chapters located throughout the US, and is affiliated with Sierra Club Canada.

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