"U.S. Seeks Record Civil Fine in Kalamazoo Spill"

"The federal Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration said Monday that it would seek to impose a $3.7 million fine -- a record civil penalty -- on the pipeline operator Enbridge over an oil spill in the Kalamazoo River in Michigan two years ago."

"The spill from the pipeline, which involved at least 800,000 gallons of a form of crude called diluted bitumen, has proved difficult to clean up, and parts of the river remain closed. The pipeline agency, part of the Department of Transportation, found that the company had violated many federal regulations, including failing to follow proper management procedures and using operators without the proper qualifications.

For example, despite alarms indicating a problem with the pipeline, Enbridge employees tried several times to restart the flow, with more oil spilled as a result. “We will hold pipeline operators accountable if they do not follow proper safety procedures to protect the environment and local communities,” the federal transportation secretary, Ray LaHood, said."

Elisabeth Rosenthal reports for the New York Times July 2, 2012.
 

Source: Green/NYT, 07/03/2012