Airboats and booms on the Kalamazoo River between Battle Creek and Historic Bridge Park in September 2011. (Courtesy: John Grap/Batte Creek Enquirer)
WASHINGTON (Detroit Free Press) - Federal regulators on Monday closed the book on the 2010 pipeline rupture in south-central Michigan that sent thousands of gallons of crude oil into a tributary of the Kalamazoo River, acknowledging payment of a $3.7-million penalty.
The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a statement Monday noting that the full penalty amount against Canda's Enbridge Energy was paid by wire transfer early last month. PHMSA proposed the penalty in early July.
Federal regulators had issued their report describing two dozen probable violations of federal regulations, noting that Enbridge had failed to address potential defects along Line 6B - which crosses Michigan - before the break near Marshall. Regulators also said the company didn't follow its own procedures when responding to the spill.
Enbridge operators restarted the line twice despite alarms at its control center in Edmonton, Alberta, which signalled a problem on the line. The report said more than 20,000 barrels of crude oil - 840,000 gallons - were spilled into Talmadge Creek, which runs into the Kalamazoo River.
In mid-July, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a report with 19 recommendations related to the incident, calling on Enbridge to improve management and response plans and PHMSA to improve oversight, tighten industry standards and make sure that operation and response plans of pipeline companies are adequately reviewed.
By Todd Spangler, Detroit Free Press Washington Bureau