04 August 2010

Enbridge Offers to Buy 200 Homes Near Spill

The Detroit Free Press

The company that spilled oil into the Kalamazoo River near Marshall said today it is offering to buy as many as 200 homes of people who might have been affected by the accident.

For those whose homes were already listed for sale pre-spill, Enbridge Energy Partners will pay the full list price. For homeowners who want to sell but whose homes weren't listed, the company will buy them for their appraised value before the spill.

Enbridge CEO Patrick Daniel said the move was a first for Enbridge, which operates pipelines in the U.S. and Canada, and a way to show confidence that its cleanup will be thorough. "This is the result of feedback I've gotten over the last eight days," he said. "Some people feel their homes are diminished in value. We believe if we buy them, we will not lose money."

Daniel said he has no idea how many homeowners might take the company up on the offer. It covers 61 homes in a voluntary evacuation zone around the spill where benzene levels were high after the spill that health officials asked residents to leave, as well as homes within 200 feet of the Kalamazoo River as far as 30 miles downstream from the spill.

Benzene levels have dropped in the past few days, health officials said Monday, but the evacuation zone is still in place. It was not mandatory and only about a dozen homeowners relocated.

At least one couple in the evacuation zone already had listed their home for sale. The company said it has no idea how many others were already for sale.

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