Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul has filed a lawsuit over a recent Marathon Pipe Line oil spill that dumped thousands of gallons in the state.
Raoul’s lawsuit, which was filed in Madison County Circuit Court on March 18, 2022, alleges that Marathon Pipe Line LLC created a “substantial danger” to the environment and to public health and welfare when it released crude oil from a pipeline north of Edwardsville, IL.
Marathon operates approximately 6,000 miles of underground pipelines in Illinois and thirteen other states. The pipelines transport crude oil and petroleum products to and from terminals, refineries, and other pipelines.
The Marathon Pipe Line oil spill was first detected on March 18, when a refinery informed the National Response Center about the presence of oil of unknown origin in Cahokia Creek, which flows into the Mississippi River. Later that morning, Marathon reported that an “equipment failure” in its Woodpat line, which runs from Wood River to Patoka, dumped an estimated 3,900 barrels of crude oil, which had subsequently spilled into Cahokia Creek.
In a statement released on March 15, Marathon claimed that the damaged line had been repaired and that the company had federal permission to restart the flow of oil through it.
Residential Neighborhoods Impacted
In its lawsuit against Marathon, the Attorney General’s Office accuses the company of water pollution, endangering environmental and public health, creating offensive conditions, open dumping, and waste disposal at an improper facility.
More specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Marathon violated the Illinois Environmental Protection Act by causing or allowing a discharge of heavy crude oil into Cahokia Creek in an area with residential neighborhoods, commercial developments, wetlands, agricultural properties, and forested areas.
“Marathon’s significant oil spill has created a public health risk by exposing the community to heavy crude oil,” said Raoul when he announced the state’s Marathon Pipe Line oil spill lawsuit. “The spill has also severely harmed the environment – including wildlife, surrounding wetlands, and waterways.
“The long-lasting impact of this oil spill could be detrimental if not properly and quickly remediated,” he added. “I am committed to ensuring that Marathon is held accountable for the damage it has already done and preventing it from causing further harm to the public’s health and the environment.”
Marathon Pipe Line Dumped 163,800 Gallons
Raoul estimated that the Marathon Pipe Line oil spill released approximately 163,800 gallons of heavy crude oil into nearby soil, wetlands, and Cahokia Creek, killing at least ten animals and impacting at least 1.6 acres of wetlands and seven miles of waterway.
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) Director John J. Kim agreed with the severity of the Attorney General’s assessment, stating that “This release from a Marathon pipeline resulted in significant environmental impacts to Cahokia Creek, surrounding wetlands, and wildlife. As a result, it has required a response from Illinois EPA and other state, local, and federal agencies to monitor and ensure proper steps are taken to identify the extent of contamination in the environment and begin remediation.
“We will continue working with the Attorney General’s Office to ensure Marathon fulfills its obligation to address and remediate all environmental impacts resulting from this release.”
According to state officials, crude oil is toxic to plants and aquatic organisms, impacting breathing, feeding, and body temperature regulation in wildlife. Additionally, humans who inhale crude oil fumes may develop headaches, labored breathing, irritation of the nose, throat, and lungs, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, loss of coordination, nausea, and chemical pneumonia.
Fines Sought for Marathon Pipe Line Oil Spill
The Marathon Pipe Line lawsuit demands that the company immediately cease and desist from causing or allowing the release of heavy crude oil. Raoul’s office has also ordered Marathon to undertake immediate corrective action that will result in a “final and permanent abatement” of the dangers to the environment and to public health.
The lawsuit further seeks civil penalties of $50,000.00 for each violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and of Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations, along with an additional penalty of $10,000.00 for each day of each violation. Additionally, the state is trying to recover the costs that the IEPA incurred in responding to the Marathon Pipe Line oil spill.
It was not immediately known whether any personal injury attorneys have also filed suit on behalf of residents of the impacted area.
Have You Been Exposed to Toxic Chemicals?
People exposed to toxic chemicals can suffer significant, sometimes long-term adverse health effects. Nevertheless, victims of these types of incidents may find it challenging to obtain fair compensation from the at-fault parties without a deep command of the underlying science and the applicable laws. For this reason, those who have been harmed by dangerous chemicals should consider seeking out the assistance of the dedicated personal injury attorneys at GWC Injury Lawyers LLC.
With more than $2 billion recovered in verdicts and settlements, GWC is one of the leading Personal Injury and Workers’ Compensation law firms in Illinois. Our personal injury attorneys have the experience, the determination, the resources, and the reputation necessary to help get you and your family the justice you deserve.
Contact GWC today to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with a knowledgeable personal injury attorney. You may call our office at (312) 464-1234 or click here to chat with a representative at any time.<< BACK TO BLOG POSTS