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Aug 052010

From Green Right Now Reports

Residents who live along the Kalamazoo River in Michigan have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against Enbridge, Inc., the company responsible for last week’s spill of more than 800,000 gallons of oil into the river, the result of a ruptured pipe.

Already, unsafe levels of benzene have been found in the wake of the spill. The volatile compound can cause headaches, rashes and stomach distress.

“This is just an outrage at this point,” said attorney Liz Thomson of Hertz-Schram P.C. in Bloomfield Hills. “People’s very basic needs are not being met: fresh air and clean water.”

The suit represents all residents affected by the spill, whether they they’ve had to buy water, pay for a hotel or receive medical attention. It seeks to ensure that properties are returned to their former states and that air and water quality are monitored in the long-term.

“In addition to just getting back to where they were, people should be compensated for the interference with their property rights,” Thomas said.

Enbridge has promised to clean up the mess. After the company is served with the Western District Court lawsuit, it will have 30 days to respond to the claim.