Interior Settles Natural Resource Damage Claims Arising from August 2008 Oil Spill in Wayne County, Illinois

Last edited 09/25/2020

Mount Erie oil spill response
Aerial view of oil spill response operations in August 2008 during the Marathon Pipe Line LLC pipeline crude oil spill in Wayne County, Illinois, showing the affected surrounding habitat. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service worked with Marathon during this emergency response to select the locations of temporary roads and equipment staging areas to avoid harming the endangered Indiana bat and migratory birds. Photo credit: Mike Coffey, FWS.

On February 15, 2012, the U.S., on behalf of the Secretary of the Department of the Interior, settled natural resource damage claims against Marathon Pipe Line LLC for injuries to natural resources and natural resource services caused by an August 10, 2008 crude oil spill from a pipeline near Mount Erie, in Wayne County, Illinois. Department of the Interior, acting through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, was the only natural resource trustee involved in this incident. This settlement was embodied in a Consent Decree entered by the U.S. District Court for the District of Southern Illinois, Benton Division.

The oil spill released an estimated 5,000 barrels of crude oil from a subsurface pipeline into the floodplain of Elm Creek. Natural resources injured by the incident include freshwater wetland habitat and the plant and wildlife species using that habitat.

The Consent Decree calls for Marathon Pipe Line LLC to:

  • Finance and implement the restoration projects as specified in the Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan; and,
  • Pay $90,629.03 to Department of the Interior for past assessment costs and future costs for oversight and monitoring of restoration projects.

The publicly-reviewed Damage Assessment and Restoration Plan, entitled “Natural Resource Damages Assessment and Restoration Planning (DARP) Report,” has been incorporated in the Consent Decree as Appendix A. The restoration projects to be implemented, beginning this spring, include: restoration of 7.1 acres of palustrine forested wetlands directly impacted by the oil spill; restoration of 14.2 acres of adjacent agricultural fields owned by Marathon Pipe Line LLC; and, installation of two bat houses for endangered Indiana bats and ten nesting boxes for migratory wood ducks.

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