EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — The Illinois Attorney General is suing an oil company after more than 160,000 gallons of crude oil leaked into Cahokia Creek.
When a leak was identified in the Marathon Pipe Line near Edwardsville, Illinois, Virginia Woulfe-Beiley was initially satisfied with the response.
"Illinois regulators took really swift action containing and determining the cause of the leak,” said Virginia Woulfe-Beiley.
However, the Sierra Club-Piasa Palisades member said she was shocked when she found out more than 160,000 of crude were spilled into Cahokia Creek.
"My first thoughts really went to public safety, clean air, clean water, and the wildlife in our area,” said Woulfe-Bailey.
"Unfortunately, we have seen a number of animals that have had to be treated for exposure to the pipeline release,” said Andrew Armstrong, Chief of the Environmental Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office.
That's why the Illinois Attorney General's Office is stepping in.
"It's a very serious case in terms of the amount of the release,” said Armstrong. “That's why our office is acting so quickly."
A lawsuit filed against Marathon Pipe Line in Madison County Court alleges multiple violations of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.
"This amount of oil can create fumes that can threaten public health,” said Armstrong. “Certainly it has already impacted the environment and the surrounding river and wetlands."
A Marathon spokesman says the company has already removed more than 5,300 cubic yards of contaminated soil along with more than 11,000 barrels of oil and water.
"We need to see a complete and total cleanup of the release,” said Armstrong. “We need to make sure that Marathon is taking all actions it can to prevent all future releases in our state."
"We're hoping that it's a long time before we see anything else like this,” said Woulfe-Beiley. “We have to stay vigilant."
As part of its lawsuit, the state of Illinois is seeking civil penalties of $50,000 for each violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board regulations, as well as an additional penalty of $10,000 for each day of each violation