Ill. AG takes action over oil spills

Bryan Cohen Sep. 17, 2012, 1:50pm


CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) - Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced actions on Friday against several oil pipeline companies for spills near Palos Park and Lockport.

One spill occurred along a section of pipeline near the Cal-Sag Channel in Palos Park.

The spill began in the early morning of Aug. 27. The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency estimated that at least 29,400 gallons of jet fuel soaked into the ground before entering a drainage ditch that flowed into the Cal-Sag Channel.

The pipeline is operated by Buckeye Pipe Line Co. LP for owner West Shore Pipe Line Co.

"Even though emergency repairs were made to protect the surrounding environment, this court action will require that the pipeline's owner and operators thoroughly assess the damage and restore the area," Madigan said. "The preliminary injunction is the first step toward ensuring that the companies involved are held fully responsible for this incident."

A Cook County judge ordered research into the extent of the contamination through the preliminary injection and required the companies to inform the Illinois EPA of the initial repairs made to the pipeline. The companies must also document the proper disposal of contaminated water and soil.

Additionally, the defendants must submit a work plan to remediate the site for approval and submit records of the last 10 years of inspections and maintenance on the pipeline.

A second action was announced earlier in the week for a December 2010 rupture of another West Shore-owned pipeline operated by Buckeye. In that spill, 21,000 gallons of crude oil were released in Lockport. The spill flowed into wetlands before draining into the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Des Plaines River.

The defendants, under terms of the consent order, will pay a civil penalty of $108,000 for deposit into the state's Environmental Protection Trust Fund. The defendants must also pay for the Illinois EPA's response and oversight costs in dealing with the spill and pay a civil penalty of $10,000 to Will County. Additionally, the defendants will reimburse the county for emergency services and investigative costs following the incident.

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