Enbridge, the company responsible for the largest and most damaging inland oil spill in the history of the county here in Michigan in 2010, has reached a ridiculously low settlement with homeowners and local residents. They’ll pay only a few million dollars to those whose lives were uprooted because of their negligence.
A four-year class action lawsuit over the largest and most expensive inland oil spill in U.S. history has reached a tentative settlement, with the company responsible agreeing to pay $6.75 million to those who lived and owned property near the spill.
The lawsuit was brought by thousands of plaintiffs who claimed they were subject to toxic fumes, noise, and general degradation of life following the July 2010 oil spill, which saw more than 800,000-gallons of thick Canadian tar sands crude oil flow out of a ruptured pipeline and into Michigan’s Kalamazoo River. The pipeline, called Line 6B, is owned and operated by a company called Enbridge Inc., based in Calgary, Alberta.
Under the agreement with Enbridge, plaintiffs who lived or owned property within 1,000 feet of the river will split a total of $2.2 million, meaning each plaintiff stands to get anywhere from a couple thousand to a couple hundred dollars depending on the size of the class. In addition, a $1.5 million fund will be set up for people who can show they made out-of-pocket expenses — stayed in hotels, bought meals, etc. — during the time the spill was at its worst. Enbridge will also be required to implement a $50,000 testing program for well water, and has agreed to donate $150,000 to local environmental conservation organizations.