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State, County File Suit over 6,000-Gallon Romeoville Oil Spill

The line that broke in Romeoville last month also crosses beneath the northern portion of Plainfield.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow filed an eight-count lawsuit today demanding that Enbridge Energy pay all costs related to cleaning up a 6,000-gallon oil spill in Romeoville last month.

The lawsuit alleges the Sept. 9 spill endangered the public's health and welfare, violated state water and air pollution laws, and created a public nuisance. The estimated clean-up price tag is $60 million.

Madigan and Glasgow want Enbridge to inspect all water supply mains, sanitary sewers, storm sewers, and private wells and groundwater within a half mile of the break near 719 Parkwood Ave. to ensure that all contamination has been removed.

The pipeline in question also runs directly under Plainfield, a fact not lost on Romeoville Mayor John Noak, who joined Madigan and Glasgow at a press conference announcing the complaint.

"There's no telling where this kind of thing can happen," Noak said. "It's not just us. It could be just about anyone."

Enbridge's Line 6A runs under portions of northern Plainfield. The 34-inch line moves 670,000 barrels of crude oil per day, following a path south along 252nd Street, east between 119th and 127th streets and then jogging just south of Plainfield East High School.

"This (lawsuit)  is to make sure that Enbridge, and not the taxpayers, will pay for the clean up," Madigan said.

Enbridge recently agreed to pay $460 million to clean up an oil spill in Michigan, one of the largest in U.S. history, and closed down a section of a suspicious pipe in New York.

"This isn't like, 'Oh, look what's bubbling up out of the ground,' like on the 'Beverly Hillbillies,'" Glasgow said. "If they have $460 million to put into clean-up, why not put $460 million into prevention?"

In addition to the complaint, state and county officials filed an "agreed interim order" requiring that Enbridge:

* Submit a plan within seven days to evaluate the impact of the leak on private wells and the Romeoville Nature Preserve;

* Identify and conduct inspections within 15 days on community water lines, storm sewers  and service lines that may have been impacted;

* Reimburse the state of Illinois for the cost of responding to the leak and related oversight costs.

Enbridge officials anticipate the estimated $60 million clean-up cost will also cover fines that will be levied -- but have not yet been determined -- by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Madigan said.

Line 6A carries heavy and medium crude oil from Superior, Wis., to Griffith, Ind. It is part of Enbridge Energy Partners' 1,900-mile Lakehead System, the U.S. leg of the world's longest petroleum pipeline. It's about 60 years old.

The next court date for the case is Nov. 10.

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