Madigan pursuing oil spill case

Keith Loria Jan. 6, 2011, 2:00pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced on Wednesday that a preliminary injunction has been granted against two pipeline companies that were allegedly responsible for a recent oil spill.

Buckeye Pipe Line Co. and West Shore Pipe Line Co. allegedly violated numerous environmental laws.

Madigan and Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow filed a seven-count complaint against the two companies after a Dec. 14 incident in which part of an oil pipeline was found leaking crude oil in Lockport, Ill. Since there are private water wells and non-community water supply wells in that area, Madigan feared for the safety of those residents.

"These companies must be held accountable for the serious risks this spill posed to the public's health and environmental safety," Madigan said. "Today's action will ensure that both companies fully assess and clean up any resulting pollution so that the residents and natural habitat in the surrounding area are protected."

The suit alleges that the oil spill became a public nuisance and endangered the health of many who lived in the proximity of the spill.

The suit asks the court to require West Shore Pipe Line, the owner of the 12-inch pipeline, and operator Buckeye Pipe Line, to pay all response and oversight costs related to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency's and Will County's response to the leak.

Madigan is also seeking to ensure proper clean-up of all pollution caused by the spill. This includes the testing of groundwater, soil and sediment for possible contamination and remediation of all impacted areas and nearby water.

Under terms of the injunction, the companies must identify and inspect water supply mains, sanitary sewers and storm sewers to assess the environmental damage done and plan the cleanup. The companies must also look at all private wells and groundwater within one-half mile of the leak and clean those as well.

The preliminary injunction requires the companies to provide the IEPA with copies of all reports and work plans that the companies provided to or are required to provide to the USEPA and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration contained in a compliance order issued Dec. 16, 2010.

The companies must also provide a complete list of all contacts and correspondence received from or sent to local residents related to the Dec. 14 oil spill and offer all inspection reports on the 12 inch pipeline beginning from the Enbridge pipeline to the Citgo refinery for the years 2000 to 2010, including information about any repairs made to the pipeline during those years.

Additionally, the companies are required to conduct a private well survey within one-half mile of the pipeline leak, propose an evaluation of any impact on these private wells, and provide the results of the survey and the plan to the IEPA for review and approval.

The companies will also conduct community outreach activities in accordance with the community right-to-know provisions of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and reimburse the state for all reasonable response and oversight costs incurred by the IEPA as a result of the oil leak.

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